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GSM operators complain

GSM operators complain

In what sounded like a formal response to concerns raised by GSM operators over the depreciation of the Leone, Minister of Information and Communications has assured representatives to the last consumer parliament of a swift government action.

Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo told a bastion of service providers in Kenema that his government was aware that all global system for mobile communications companies in the country operate businesses that were extremely capital intensive.

“We are also aware of the fact that the appreciation of the United States dollar against the national currency, the Leone, is a matter of serious concern among the operators,” he said and maintained that correspondences to that effect were being made available to his ministry for urgent action.

In a snap interview, chairman of the telecom regulator, Siray Alpha Timbo paid tribute to the fourth consumer parliament, pointing out the significance of the minister’s appeal and assurance which were very appropriate for the gathering.

He stated that the consumer parliament was a platform where consumers meet face-to-face with service providers and make their comments, suggestions, proposals and recommendations for a common benefit.

“It is one of NATCOM’s innovative strategies in ensuring fair play, enhance knowledge-sharing, accountability and transparency vis-à-vis the rights and obligations of all stakeholders, namely the operators, consumers and the regulator,” Mr. Timbo told this writer.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone have been advised to meet with concerned operators in a bid to find a way out of the growing fiscal susceptibility.

The communications minister admitted that he was under serious pressure to provide the necessary policy framework and infrastructure to make telecommunications affordable to the majority of country.

“I am, however, satisfied that some of the GSM operators have requested to use the 3G (third generation) network. I have given the necessary policy directives to the chairman of NATCOM to issue licenses to those operators that have met the required criteria as stated in the telecom Act 2006 as amended,” he said.

While such attractive products and services were still in the offing, two other companies would become operational soon, he said, adding that Intergroup was rapidly rolling out while Green Net would soon commence operations.

Intergroup Telecom Limited is a telecom company licensed in Sierra Leone to operate a GSM 900/1800, 3G, and Wimax network. It is a subsidiary of Time Turns Holdings Ltd. which invests and operates in multiple sectors among which are telecommunications, construction, manufacturing, and banking.

The new player in the country’s burgeoning telecom industry is confident and believes that the prospect was encouragingly viable.

“The addition of a new player in the telecom market in Sierra Leone will enhance the consumer’s experience while encouraging favorable competition,” said Intergroup on its website.

By Bhoyy Jalloh

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