19 November 2012

Liberia: Please Reconsider Your Decision Against Lonestar Cell MTN

A V-SAT installation


Our attention is drawn to announcement by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority(LTA) through its Chairperson, Madam Angelique Weeks, regarding the suspension of two operational licenses of LoneStar Cell MTN.

Madam Weeks, who made the announcement over the weekend when she addressed a news conference at the LTA's head office in Sinkor, Monrovia, described the suspension of two operational licenses of the company as a punitive measure by the Board of Commissioners (BoC) resulting from LoneStar Cell MTN's "unilateral" implementation of an "unauthorized" change in the status of its interconnection with Comium-Liberia from May 18, 2012 to May 21, 2012.

According to her, the LoneStar Cell MTN failed to timely comply with the LTA's directive to restore fully by 5:00PM, on Monday, May 21, 2012 the interconnection between it (LoneStar Cell MTN) and Comium as it existed, prior to its (LoneStar Cell MTN) 18 May "unilateral" implementation of the said unauthorized change.

Among other things, Madam Weeks added that the suspension is slated to commence at 12:01 AM on December 3, 2012 and will continue for three days until 12 Midnight on December 5, 2012.

For us, we are seriously concerned about the announcement because of the adverse impact it will have not only on the company, but the customers, many of whom, are Liberians. The Mobile Money, we are told, is making huge impact, and if the suspension holds, we are afraid, it would be in jeopardy, as the regulations of the Central Bank of Liberia(CBL) states the customer should get his or her money anytime they want.

While we sincerely acknowledge the regulatory role of the LTA, we think the decision to suspension the two operational licenses of LoneStar Cell MTN is too harsh and needs to be revisited. We agree that the LTA must perform its regulatory role for improved communication system in our country, but it must not equally take a decision against a GSM company that will have a great impact on the Liberian people, whom it is mandated to serve.

Against this backdrop, we plead with authorities of the LTA to revisit its decision against the company for the good of the Liberian nation and people.

Other action, we suggest, could be taken against LoneStar Cell MTN without hurting the Liberian people, including foreign residents here.

When the suspension is implemented, our concern is, it will not only hurt the GSM company in question, but the Liberian people and foreign residents as well.

It is our fervent hope that authorities of the LTA will see wisdom in our appeal and reconsider its suspension for the enhancement of country.

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