NATCOM said to have revoked Ambitel’s operating licence

22 Sep 2014

Sierra Leone-based mobile start-up Ambitel (GreenN), a subsidiary of LAP Green Network, itself 100% owned by Libyan government-owned investment vehicle Libyan Africa Portfolio (LAP), has reportedly had its operating licence revoked by the country’s telecoms watchdog National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), PC Advisor reports. John Weir, former CEO of the cellco, and the new head of rival operator Smart Mobile, was cited as saying: ‘All I know is that the license of Ambitel has been revoked and there have been further redundancies, but I cannot comment on what the plans of another business are.’

According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Ambitel was awarded a concession to provide GSM services in Sierra Leone in the beginning of 2008. In early 2011 CEO Elmabruk S. Elgembari said the company planned to invest USD50 million in the next three years, adding that the operator had so far constructed a total of 128 cell sites. While commercial services were initially slated to launch on 27 April 2011, the operator failed to meet the deadline, blaming the delay on the political unrest in Libya. Frustrated at Ambitel’s slow progress, NATCOM reportedly ordered the cellco to inaugurate commercial services by the end of 1Q13, a deadline which the company missed.

Sierra Leone, Ambitel (GreenN), Intergroup Telecom (Smart Mobile), National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM)