New Democrat (Monrovia)

21 November 2012

Liberia: Lonestar's Suspension Is Unilateral

A V-SAT installation

The decision by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) to suspend the licenses of LoneStar Phone Company has been described as unilateral and will affect thousands of Liberians, the communication officer of the phone company has lamented.

Mr. Lawrence Bropleh spoke on a local radio Tuesday, describing the action of LTA as "completely unilateral" without considering the communication needs of Liberians.

Hours after the suspension was announced, LoneStar in its reaction to LTA's decision, said the loss of revenue on outgoing calls locally and internationally should not be underestimated. This will have such effect on the ultimate bottom line that it might affect the number of jobs in our employ, let alone the taxes due to the government. This loss could be in millions.

"The impact that this will have on our distributors and airtime agents will be huge as they are not able to sell airtime during that period. And, the ripple effect when they are not able to service their debts with the banks or with each other could create chaos for us. We have more than 300 sub - distributors that might want to bring stock back and to be refunded. This is disaster in our hands," LoneStar management lamented.

But in reaction, LTA's commission Henry Benson said "It is not the wish of any regulator to suspend because suspension is not an easy decision" Commissioner Benson pointed out."

"Before taking this decision we held several consultations, and we were constrained to reach this far. The fact of the matter is that the laws must be respected irrespective of who we're dealing with," he stressed.

Mr. Benson who was flanked by LTA Commissioners Abdullah Kamara and Harry T. Yuan, vowed to implement the suspension against Lonestar Cell/MTNto the letter.

"Come December 3, 2012, the LTA is going to monitor fully the suspension against the Lonestar.

We will ensure that the laws are respected.

And if there're any more violations, there would also be additional punishments," Benson reiterated.

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InFocus

Liberia: Will Telecoms Company be Suspended?

A V-SAT installation

The management of LoneStar Cell MTN has said that its proposed suspension by the telecoms authority will lead to job shedding and hinder the country's security. Read more »