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Sierra Leone Business: Qcell network: New kid on Salone’s telecom block

Soon, the market forces of demand and supply will act as the regulatory mechanism for mobile tariffs,” disclosed the Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission, Momoh Konte.
As mobile companies continue with high tariffs and struggle to provide quality service for subscribers, a new mobile company, Qcell, is about to step in and it is going to be the game-changer in the telecoms industry, the CEO, Muhammed Jah assured.
Addressing journalists on Friday at the company’s King Harman Road Office, the Gambian business tycoon said “Qcell now intends to commence operations pretty soon. We intend to roll out a network that covers the entire country in the shortest possible time. Our ambition is to deliver a network that is actually fit for purpose that is a robust and reliable network that works for you and at affordable rates.”
He explained that Qcell commenced operations in The Gambia in 2009 as the fourth operator, coming into the market some 13 years after the then leading operator. Many observers and players in the market did not believe that we stood a chance in what was a market dominated by two major players.”
“However, due to our excellent quality service, deep concern for the interest of the consumers and strong corporate social responsibility, today we are not only recognised as the number one operator in The Gambia, but we are also the biggest employer, the highest tax payer and the most compliant operator in the country,” he said.
The CEO also disclosed “We were second to provide 3G in Africa – Our network offers 3G coverage in 100% of the country. You can make a WhatsApp call from our network even from remote villages in The Gambia. We are also among the first networks to offer 4G in Africa, which for the time being is limited to the cities in Gambia. In short, thanks to Qcell, mobile telecommunication services in the Gambia is quite advanced. Drop calls, poor coverage and super high prices/rates are things of the past,” he said.
“Unfortunately,” the Qcell CEO pointed out, “the same cannot be said with respect to Sierra Leone. The quality of service is very poor and also very expensive. But there is good news. …. Qcell has now been registered and incorporated in Sierra Leone and has been granted the necessary licenses to provide the services of mobile telecommunication in Sierra Leone. It was a long and tedious process with a lot of vetting. However, we were able to satisfy all the requirements and were duly granted the licenses,” he furthered.
Explaining why he decided to extend his business venture to Sierra Leone, Jah explained “This is a personal journey for me. It is to give back to the country from which I and many of my compatriots have taken so much. I have only one University degree – a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering specialising in Electronics from Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone,” he revealed.
“It is that education that I obtained from Sierra Leone that has prepared me for my achievements in life. Sierra Leone is also a second home for me. I have seen a need in an area in which I believe that I can make a huge difference. I believe that Sierra Leoneans deserve a better mobile telecommunication service than they are getting. I am determined to contribute in changing that. I also promise you that pretty soon you will notice a big difference from what you have now. I have done it in my native Gambia. I am now fully committed to do the same thing in my second home-Sierra Leone; not just in telecommunication, but also in other businesses.”
Representing the NATCOM Commissioner, Director of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Abdul Kuyateh, encouraged the Qcell CEO to comply with Sierra Leone’s local content policy and also urged them to maximize the utilization of the fiber optics capacity. He said that there is 80Gb of fiber and only 8GB is currently being utilized. “That is a very good area for you to capture,” he advised. The Director also advised Qcell team to pay attention to quality of service and healthy competition.
By Ophaniel Gooding
Monday August 07, 2017.

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