Sierra Leonean mobile operator Lintel, which operates in the country under the Africell banner, has finally complied with the government’s directive to convert its billing platform to leones per second from the previous billing method of units per minute, eight months after the regulator NATCOM issued a decree ordering the conversion. Africell’s chief corporate affairs officer Joe Abass Bangura disclosed that all subscribers will be charged in local currency from 14 February 2015.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in June 2014 NATCOM took a decision to simplify the billing procedure ‘following a series of resolutions taken in various consumer parliaments and several meetings between the commission and all GSM operators.’ The watchdog stated that all of the nation’s GSM operators must convert their billing platforms to leones per second, effective 1 July 2014, with Mohamed Bangura, director general of NATCOM, disclosing that from that date users would be charged SLL6.83 (USD0.0016) per second for on-net calls. While several operators complied with the directive as requested, Africell continued to market its services in units, with the regulator stating in October 2014 that it might fine the operator if it fails to comply with the order. In its defence, the cellco meanwhile said that it had asked for an extension since it was using ‘a new technology’ and pledged to change its billing system by 2015.