Africell, the largest mobile network provider in Sierra Leone, marked a significant milestone in the telecommunications industry with the launch of its Fifth Generation (5G) network on Thursday October 26, 2023. The high-profile event was attended by prominent Government officials, key industry figures, and members of the Press.
Among the distinguished guests at the launch were Chief Minister, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Information and Civic Education Chernor Bah, Minister of Communication, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Salima Bah, Chairman of the Board of Directors NatCa Ambassador, Joe Blell and the Director-General of the National Telecommunications Authority (NaTCA), Amara Brewah.
The grand unveiling took place at the Sea View Lounge, New City Hall in Freetown, where Africell’s Chief Executive Officer, Shadi Gerjawi, emphasized the company’s dedication to transforming lives through technology. He highlighted Africell’s evolution from its inception as a Second Generation (2G) network, progressively advancing to Fourth Generation (4G), and now reaching the pinnacle of connectivity with 5G technology.
Gerjawi, an advocate of technology’s transformative power, pointed out the remarkable speed of 5G, which is 100 times faster than 4G, an its crucial role in bridging the digital divide. He praised Africell for its contribution to connecting the unconnected and facilitating access to the benefits of the digital age.
In addition to the 5G network launch, Africell introduced a versatile mobile app that can be accessed through a QR code. The app enables users to pay utility bills, including EDSA, WAEC, DSTV, and Mercury, as well as conduct postpaid transactions, bank-to-wallet and wallet-to-bank transfers, merchant payments, and offers free SMS services to customers.
Gerjawi stated, “Africell’s mission goes beyond being a telecommunications provider; it demonstrates our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.” He commended the company’s dedication to community development projects, such as education, healthcare programs, and youth empowerment.
Reflecting on Africell’s journey, Gerjawi underscored the company’s dedication to pushing boundaries, innovating, and delivering the latest technology to Sierra Leone. He described 5G as a revolutionary step that redefines communication, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.
A crucial point of gratitude was extended to the Government of Sierra Leone, Minister of Communication, Technology and Innovation Hon. Salima Bah, Chairman of Board of Directors NatCa Ambassador Joe Blell, and the Director-General of NaTCA Mr. Amara Brewah for their steadfast support and belief in Africell’s mission.
Amara Brewah, the Director-General of the National Telecommunications Authority (NaTCA), praised the introduction of 5G technology in Sierra Leone as a significant leap toward embracing the digital age. He acknowledged the proactive collaboration between mobile network giants and NaTCA, emphasizing the positive advancements in the quality of internet service and the potential for economic growth, improved education, healthcare, and governance.
The close partnership between mobile network operators and the office of the NaTCA Director-General, Amara Brewah, has paved the way for substantial investments in state-of-the-art technology and equipment. While tariff increases are anticipated, the improved quality of internet service promises to deliver value that will make these increases reasonable for consumers.
As Africell’s 5G network revolutionises the digital landscape of Sierra Leone, the nation takes a giant step toward a more connected and technologically advanced future.