Sierra Leonean journalist Umaru Fofana has criticized mobile companies in the country for their excessive charging of goods and services.
In his end-of-year message, he characterized this practice as a wrong that needs to be right1. Fofana specifically pointed out the alarming rate at which mobile companies charge for the newly introduced eSIM, which he believes takes the nation back to the days of the monopoly of Celtel (now Orange) when Sierra Leoneans had to pay for services they didn’t use
He said the practice is very wrong and urged the NATCA to intervene and make things right. Read full message below:
“AN OPEN LOVE LETTER TO OUR MOBILE PHONE COMPANIES
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. However the issue I have at hand isn’t hunky-dory. It’s irksome!!
A practice that reminds me of the days of the monopoly of Celtel (now Orange) in Sierra Leone seems to be back.
For those of you who’re new to mobile phone usage in Sierra Leone, when GSM services first came at the turn of the millennium, a SIM card was sold for $20 – if my memory serves me well. And we paid service charge every day whether we made calls or not.
To today: Mobile phone companies have been selling the newly introduced eSIM for between Le 100,000 and Le 200,000. This is akin to the dark days of the mobile phone light in the country.
The eSIM (embedded sim) was introduced to replace the SIM card, plain and simple. So it’s not a luxury or value addition that a customer wishes to have. Some phones nowadays don’t even have a sim tray. So an eSIM is a sine qua non.
In some countries a customer is given access to migrate to an eSIM by themselves. Here you have to go the operator.
What’s more of a ripoff, to my mind, is the fact that even after paying for the eSIM, which as I say is wrong, moving from one handset to another the customer has to pay all over again. Something the telco should enable the customer to do by themselves when transferring other apps from the old phone to the new one. Or do for them for free.
I urge NATCA to get involved in this and right this blatant wrong and extortion.