Airtel Sierra Leone has on Monday 23rd January 2017, been given an ultimatum by the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) to revert to its old internet tariff or faces heavy fine. NATCOM says the increment is without observing due protocols and also without the knowledge of the Commission.
“Airtel has till the end of the day to reserve the tariff to its former price or face heavy fine,” says NATCOM Chairman Momoh Konteh , who made this statement during a press conference organized by NATCOM at its headquarters’ Conference Room, Hill Station, Freetown.
Momoh Konte furthered that the due process which should have been followed by Airtel comprises a detailed summary of the intended increment as clearly prescribed by sections 51 and 53 of the NATCOM’s Act.
He added that contrary to the provisions of the sections, Airtel increased the price tariff of Internet without informing NATCOM and also without seeking the consent of its consumers.
However, Momoh Konte briefed the press about the discussion he had with the Managing Director of Airtel. He explained that the MD confirmed that Airtel had received confirmation from NATCOM Director General to go ahead with the increments on internet price tariff.
Mr. Konteh further unveiled the letter that was allegedly sent by Airtel to NATCOM, informing them about a proposed increment in the Internet terrific. However, the discrepancy he highlighted was that the Airtel letter is dated “29th November, 2016 but shows stamp of NATCOM, indicating that the letter was received by NATCOM on the 1st November, 2016.”
Clearing his own side during the press conference, the Director General of NATCOM said,” I never gave Airtel the go ahead to do such a letter, neither did I see this letter.” He said, it is very unfortunate that the MD of Airtel had to single him out as someone who told them to do a letter about the price increment.
In addition to all, Momoh Konte assured that general public that NATCOM would launch an internal investigation into the situation surrounding the letter. He ended by reassuring the general public that under his leadership, NATCOM would not encourage service providers to reap the vulnerable masses.
Against this backdrop, he reaffirmed his earlier statement that “Airtel should return to its normal Internet tariff or face a very huge fine.”
Meanwhile, this writer has been reliably informed that Airtel is also due to hold a press conference tomorrow Tuesday 23rd January 2017, in which they would give their own side of what really transpired between them and NATCOM.