Sierra Leone’s national Mobile network operator, SierraTel, is facing a crisis and it is on the brink of extinction. The mobile company is facing issues such as unpaid staff in Lungi and a deteriorating building.
On the 26th of August this year, Journalist Soka in Lungi shared a viral video highlighting the crumbling SierraTel building in Lungi, which has become a haven for criminals. Soka called upon the President of Sierra Leone to address these issues, emphasizing that SierraTel, once a communication hub, is now in crisis.
In his words, “I am calling the attention of the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone to look into the exact problems happening to the national mobile company which includes, the staffs in Lungi have not been paid for a year and 8 months, their monthly salaries and allowances. SierraTel is the hub of communication in Sierra Leone. Frustrating today, SierraTel which is the asset of the nation is in crisis, the company’s building in Lungi has turned into a bush and dirty ground.”
Additionally, he also questioned the role of the Minister of Information and Communication, Mr. Mohamed Raham Swaray, in improving the Company’s standards. Soka noted that SierraTel offices in Lungi and other parts of the country are in poor condition, with the Lungi office becoming a hotspot for thieves. Soka urged journalists and civil societies to focus on national issues, including the decline of SierraTel, which has left staff unpaid for over a year.
Soka concluded by saying, “We are calling upon the attention of the President and the currents ministers of Information and Communication, to put more actions on SierraTel because it is the hub of communication in Sierra Leone. Most SierraTel poles which are responsible for network connections are own presently by some government officials residing in Freetown, who have been working for the company, they are using the polls for electricity connection.”
Citizens in Freetown expressed concerns about the fall of SierraTel. Many elderly citizens who once enjoyed SierraTel’s services are demanding government intervention to restore the company’s standards. They believe that foreign mobile companies are taking advantage of the absence of the national company, resulting in expensive tariffs and high data costs.
Mrs. Sonia George recalled the days when SierraTel provided affordable communication and strong internet services. She urged the president and the current ministers of information and communication to take action to revive the national mobile network, which is on the brink of extinction.
In her words, “We used to enjoy free calls with a good network for communication, we remembered those days when making calls to another country with SierraTel phone, we spent lesser than compared to other foreign mobile networks. SierraTel was the first mobile company with a strong internet MiFi for browsing, then we pay less for subscriptions. Unfortunately, in our present nation Sierra Leone we are struggling with high cost of communication with network issues everywhere. Please we are calling on the President and current ministers of information and communication, SierraTel is moving towards extinction and please put actions to restore our national mobile network.”