Govt mulls liberalisation of international gateway

1 Jun 2010

Sierra Leonean newspaper Awoko reports that the government will liberalise the country’s international mobile gateway ‘soon’, breaking the monopoly held by incumbent telecoms operator Sierratel. Minister of Information and Communication Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said the move will pave the way for the landing of fibre-optic cables in the country, slated for November 2011, in order to bring higher bandwidth, cheaper tariffs and improved service quality to end-users. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, cellcos Celtel (now Zain) and Millicom SL (Tigo) were issued with international gateway licences in January 2003, only to have them revoked in August 2006 as one of the sector reforms brought about by the Telecommunications Act 2006, which restored Sierratel’s monopoly on international connections for a period of two years. Despite calls for an ‘open and transparent’ review of the international gateway by the Sierra Leone GSM Operators Association in July 2008, Sierratel’s monopoly was extended in August 2008.