Africell denies being coerced into refunding customers by regulator

Africell denies being coerced into refunding customers by regulator

Gambian operator Africell has disputed claims by the country’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) that it had been ordered to refund and compensate subscribers over inaccurate tariffs.

The regulator stated that it acted on complaints by customers who believed they were receiving an “unlimited” 4G data package from Africell. Network congestion issues prompted the operator to pull the offer, but it claims to have informed the regulator of the decision.

In a statement, PURA said that it had “received numerous complaints from aggrieved subscribers pertaining to the unilateral decision by Africell to change its unlimited bundle offering. The Authority notes with significant concern that the decision from Africell violates the notification principles attached to all tariff changes and package offers.”

However, speaking to The Point newspaper, Africell’s Head of Corporate Affairs Musa Ceesay said: “I want to make it clear to you that it was Africell that in fact put the offer before PURA. The welfare of our customers is among our top priorities. We decided to make sure that those customers that were affected are refunded and we also compensated them.”

Ceesay did however concede that Africell had not informed its customers that they no longer had access to the unlimited internet offer, but noted: “In our continued efforts to ensure that all customers are satisfied, Africell will be refunding all affected subscribers with the credit used to buy the unlimited bundles.”

He added that Africell had purchased US$6 million of network equipment from Chinese vendors, allowing it to upgrade its access services in order to overcome the congestion issues.