Customers also complained of recent rate hikes introduced by Vivacell after the devaluation of the South Sudanese pound.
Customer Adraako Helen said, “Too slow and bundles has express speed of getting used without being used.” Dan Njuguna commented, “Do people still use vivacell data?? I quit that weeks ago when I realized it was the slowest and most expensive!”
Ties to Lebanese company, SPLM
Vivacell is majority owned by Lebanon's Fattouch Investment Group. A minority stake is held by the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), whose investment in the company predates the independence of South Sudan.
News reports from 2009 revealed that SPLM owned up to 25% of Vivacell through Wawat Securities Limited. Additional information about the party's investment was disclosed in a leaked investigation report that President Salva Kiir had ordered the party undertake in 2013 against its former secretary-general Pagan Amum.
The investigation report described Wawat Securities as an “investment arm” of SPLM, explaining that Wawat took 25% of the shares in Vivacell and Fattouche Investments Group Holdings Ltd took 75%, according to a framework agreement between the two parties.
However, the investigation report was unclear about the percentage of Vivacell shares currently owned by SPLM, referring to other evidence indicating the SPLM's holding in Vivacell may actually be significantly smaller than 25%. The report noted also that SPLM leased land to Vivacell at a “symbolic rate” close to 0 pounds per square meter.