Sierra Leone: Africell stays top with 3G launch


Africell has once again showed its supremacy in the telecommunications industry by launching another innovative service for subscribers and the general public as a whole.

Africell's Chief Executive Officer, Shadi Al-Gerjawi said they were the first operator to launch a 3G service in the country, noting that "the service will change the way our subscribers use their mobile phones". He explained that the service will also enable richer communication through video calls and add the advantage of mobility to the power of the internet.

"The service is the gateway to a new life experience," he said. "We're excited about the 3G because we see it as something that will begin to transform people's lives in many ways."

"Sierra Leone enjoys one of the highest mobile subscriber growth rates in West Africa," he informed. "This growth will be spurred further by the launch of this service. It will help promote our strides and commitment to achieving full universal access."

The new CEO maintained that with just six years in the country, they were proud to be the best in terms of customer care, cheapest local, international and upcountry tariffs, and the best network in terms of quality. "Africell has and will continue to shape the telecom industry in the country. We have even impacted in the manner in which other companies operate. We are still leaders in promotions for our subscribers," he maintained.

Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Siray Timbo affirmed that the company's network now covers over 82% of the country's populated areas. He observed that the company's acquisition of Tigo in 2009 saw the rapid expansion of its network to all district headquarter towns, including Freetown and its immediate environs.

Mr. Timbo pointed out that the launch of the 3G service by the company would significantly increase its voice capacity and create opportunities for subscribers to benefit from new data services such as high-speed instant messaging, e-mail on mobile handsets as well as internet access on mobile device.

"We hope they will operate this network within the scope of the conditions and always ensure the protection of consumers' rights. We granted them the license to leverage the potential for increased usage in mobile and other electronics," he affirmed. "The launching came at a time when we are putting the necessary structures in place to land the fibre optic cable in the country," he stated.