By Alvin Lansana Kargbo
Director General of the National Communications Authority (NaTCA), Amara Brewah, addressed the issue of poor network coverage in Sierra Leone during the Government’s weekly Press Conference held on September 26th, 2023 at the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Conference Room at Tower Hill in Freetown.
DG Amara Brewah, said that they are collaborating closely with National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) to encourage individuals to register their SIM cards with their NIN numbers. This initiative aims to safeguard innocent individuals from falling victim to fraudulent transactions orchestrated by scammers.
Brewah emphasized that the National Communications Authority operates with the goal of serving the mobile network coverage needs of both the Government and the people. However, he acknowledged the challenges of satisfying all stakeholders simultaneously maintaining that with such a vast responsibility, the Authority constantly strives to ensure that things are functioning smoothly and to keep everyone content.
One key point Brewah made was that the blame for low network coverage does not always lie with the mobile network companies. He indicated that some of the problems stem from the phones that people use further stating that if individuals own new phones that have not been previously used, such issues are less likely to occur. He lamented that many people in Sierra Leone purchase second-hand phones, which can contribute to the persistence of network problems.
Brewah went on to mention that the transmission of mobile coverage depends on poles that are positioned in specific areas adding that these poles require electricity to operate effectively saying if any of these poles encounter issues, whether related to electricity or other factors, the network performance is affected.
Furthermore, Brewah clarified that mobile network companies do not allocate poles everywhere since they do not consider it financially viable to do so. He said under the universal network fund, these companies share a portion of their revenue, enabling poles to be installed in several underserved locations.
The Director General highlighted the significant improvements made within the sector during the past few years. He assured that the National Communications Authority remains committed to further enhancing its support for both the mobile network companies and the people of Sierra Leone. He went on to reveal that through ongoing efforts they aim to create a better telecom infrastructure that benefits the company, the Government and the general population.