Airtel faces licence suspension in Sierra Leone

22 May 2013

Sierra Leone’s third largest mobile operator in terms of subscriptions Airtel may see the suspension of its operating licence, after the country’s watchdog the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) gave the telco 21 days notice – effective 13 May 2013 – to improve its services. According to the NATCOM’s statement, the ultimatum was issued due to ‘the continued deterioration of the voice and data services of the network despite series of correspondences and meetings between the Commission and the company. Furthermore, the Commission in good faith granted an application for additional spectrum resources to the company in order to facilitate the improvement of their network capacity,’ SFO World reported.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in May 2012 the chairman of the parliamentary oversight committee on information and communication, Yapo Condeh Conteh, said he would be questioning NATCOM, plus service providers including Airtel, Africell, Comium and Sierratel, following a number of consumer complaints over service quality. Following the summit, in July 2012 Airtel was slapped with a USD450,000 fine by the watchdog for providing poor network services, which the telco reportedly appealed.