Sierra Leone is to get two new GSM operators after the National Telecoms Commission (NTC), gave Israel-based Cellcom and Lybian state-backed vehicle LAPGreen Networks approval to provide services. The watchdog’s executive secretary, Bashir M. Kamara said that the cellcos had been given the green light and would be launching services soon. ‘I can tell you that there are two other registered GSM operators in the country right now that are yet to roll out into the market. They have been approved and have paid their licence fees just like every other GSM service provider. They just need to roll out into the market,’ Kamara told local newspaper The Concord Times.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Sierra Leone currently has five mobile operators, serving an estimated 800,000 subscribers at the end of last year. The NTC has recently announced that all GSM operators will be required to achieve 50% population coverage by the end of this year, which could well lead to consolidation in the market as the smaller cellcos may not be able to fund the required expansion.