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Challenges In The Telecoms Sector In Sierra Leone

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Challenges In The Telecoms Sector In Sierra Leone

By Muana Kallon Cardiff, UK…………………………………

One year ago, the Government of Sierra Leone, with advice and insistence from the World Bank, liberalised the International Gateway System thus ending nine years of Lebanese monopoly over the Gateway.

In November last year, the contract for the effective monitoring of Sierra Leone’s International Gateway System was awarded to a Ghanaian company, Subah Infosolutions.

According to the terms of the contract, Subah Infosolutions was to commence the effective and efficient monitoring of Sierra Leone’s International Gateway System on 1st December, 2016.

Since the contract was awarded to Subah Infosolutions, the company has still not hit the ground running. The question now is: why has Subah Infosolutions not started the effective and efficient monitoring of Sierra Leone’s International Gateway System?

As a result of Subah Infosolutions failure to start operations in earnest, SIM Box fraud has intensified exponentially. Some of the mobile phone operators and ISPs are actively involved in illegal traffic or what we refer to in telecoms parlance as grey traffic.

The government and NATCOM are losing Millions of United States dollars in revenue as a result of the lack of a proper and effective monitoring of Sierra Leone’s International Gateway System. What is the government of President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma doing about this?

Leakages in revenue collection continue to persist in the telecoms industry in Sierra Leone because of the lack of a proper and effective monitoring of our International Gateway System.

Quality of service is very poor. Even though the NATCOM Chairman, Mr. Momoh Konte has imposed fines on Airtel (SL) Limited, the company’s quality of service is nothing to write home about. Drop call has become the order of the day at Airtel (SL) Limited.

Consumers continue to complain that, their data was being stolen by some of the mobile phone operators on a daily basis.

Last week, the NATCOM Chairman, Mr. Momoh Konte (according to the New Vision Newspaper) warned operators to improve on their network or face being fined heavily by the Commission. It appears that, the warning from the NATCOM chief fell on deaf ears at both Airtel and Africell.

Mr. Momoh Konte has taken a firm position that the cost of data must be significantly reduced. He is currently working with SALCAB (Sierra Leone Cable Company) to actualize this dream.

What is really happening to the Slone case? Has it been quietly resolved? Mr. Momoh Konte should find a way to resolve it because he is the current Chairman of NATCOM. He was appointed by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to sort out the mess left behind by his predecessors at the Commission.

As a Sierra Leonean residing here in the UK, I hope that, Mr. Momoh Konte will push for Subah Infosolutions to commence the monitoring of our International Gateway System as quickly as possible and help resolve the Slone case as well.

Mr. Momoh Konte should also pay special attention to the daylight robbery that is being perpetrated by some mobile phone operators in stealing consumers’ data. He should also pay special attention to Smart Mobile. Smart Mobile should not be allowed to go down like Comium or Millicom.

All said and done, Mr. Momoh Konte faces huge challenges in transforming a dynamic sector like the telecoms sector in Sierra Leone, which faces a lot of challenges.

Good luck to the dynamic Chairman of NATCOM, Mr. Momoh Konte!

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