May 18, 2020
One of the newly established mobile companies in Sierra Leone has raised an alarm over the abrupt action of Orange and Africell to block calls to and from the former, with instructions from the regulatory body, the National Telecommunications Commission.
But NATCOM responded that they supported the action of the two mobile networks because Qcell has not been fully compliant with the dictate of the floor price that was laid down by the 2020 Finance Act, even after several correspondences and meetings.
Qcell had in a press release noted that at about 1800 hours on 15th May, 2020, both Africell and Orange blocked all calls to and from their networks to Qcell on the instructions of NATCOM without any lawful notification or notice, despite the existence of interconnection agreement between them and Qcell.
The company noted that they are indebted to neither Orange nor Africell,stating that both networks waited until close of business on Friday, ‘‘without giving notice to Qcell or the general public to block calls. We escalated this serious matter to NATCOM and the authorities at Africell and Orange.’
‘‘This action by NATCOM, Africell and Orange is depriving the customers of their rights to communicate between licensed networks, depriving the much needed revenue and interrupting vital communication when it is most needed to help curb the menace of covid-19 that is affecting the country currently.’’
However, NATCOM cited the 2020 Finance Act, in which the commission put a floor of Le590 and was agreed upon by all mobile networks, the National Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance.
‘‘Qcell, however, has not been fully compliant with the dictate of the floor price even after several correspondences and meetings. Qcell wrote a letter to the commission on 10th March, 2020, indicating that they had fully implemented the dictate of the floor price across board. The commission, however, found out that Qcell has still not complied,’’ states NATCOM.
NATCOM reiterated that after several correspondences and meetings between and among mobile network operators,NRA and NATCOM, Qcell still has issues with full compliance with the floor price.