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Keeping in touch – Mobile and Internet

Firstly, internet speeds in Sierra Leone are nothing like in the developed world unless you happen to have access to private VSAT. Prepare yourself for painfully frustrating speeds. The main hope for Sierra Leone’s long suffering internet using public lies in the fibre optic network which is expected to come live in the latter part of 2012. Till such time there are some options available.

VSAT through Satellite Providers

This is an option that only the bigger companies would be able to afford. For a high end 1mb package, this can cost over $5,000 a month whilst the lower end for business would be around $1,000 per month. Companies providing this service include AFCOM, Limeline, IPTel and others.

Mobile Providers

ORANGE

Orange offers 4G services. You can purchase a modem (USB stick) for around $70 which can be “topped up” much like you do with phones. The more data you subscribe to, the cheaper the cost per unit.

As Orange charge based on data consumed, you might want to make sure you don’t have services running in the background without your knowledge (Windows Update for example) otherwise, this will cut through your data quicker than you would believe.

Africell

Africell also offers 4G service and claim to be the quickest 4G provider in Sierra Leone. They currently have a promotion being run and it is free until they officially launch. I have also used this, but found it inconsistent as the connection was dropping a fair bit. This would not be ideal for business use. They also do not have a modem, you have to pair it to your laptop in order to be able to access the internet from your computer. If you only need the internet for fun and mainly on your phone, then Africell may be an ideal solution for you, particularly as it’s currently free.