21 November 2012

Liberia: LTA Maintains Stance Against Lonestar

A V-SAT installation

The Board of Commissioners of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) says it maintains the decision on the suspension of Lonestar Communication Corporation. In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, three of LTA's Board members, Henry W. Benson, Harry T. Yuan and Abdullah L. Kamara said the decision of LTA to suspend Lonestar is in accordance with the Act that established the entity which gives LTA the responsibility to regulate the sector.

According to Mr. Benson, Commissioner on Engineering and Technology Services and Acting Chairman of LTA, said claims by the Management of Lonestar that the decision was unilateral is misleading as the Board of LTA consulted with several stakeholders including Lonestar before coming down with the suspension.

Commissioner Benson said though the decision on LCC seems to be hard, it was necessary and appropriate and in no way unilateral as claimed by LCC Management.

Recently, the Board of Commissioners of LTA reached what it called its final decision regarding the suspension of the two operating licenses of Lonestar Cell/MTN.

The suspension is expected to commence at 12:01 a.m. on December 3, 2012 and continue for three days until 12 midnight on December 5, 2012.

He said the decision to suspend Lonestar is a punitive measure resulting from Lonestar's Cell/MTN failure to timely comply with the LTA's directive to restore fully by 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2012 the interconnection between Lonestar and Comium Liberia as it existed prior to Lonestar cell MTN's May 18, 2012 unilateral implementation of the said unauthorized change.

LTA chair also claimed that Lonestar Cell/MTN unilaterally implemented an unauthorized interconnection with Comium Liberia from May 18, 2012 to May 21, 2012 and being recalcitrant considering Lonestar's previous unauthorized shunting of its interconnection link with another operator in 2010.

But the Management of Lonestar through its Communication Manager, Rev. Laurence Bropleh has taken serious exception to the LTA decision and threatened legal action against LTA if it effects decision on December 3, 2012.

For Harry Yuan, Commissioner on Government Affairs & National Policy, sufficient consultations were held before reaching the decision and as such, if Lonestar sees the need to go to court, LTA recognizes their rights but that LTA will not reverse its decision because the entity acted in conformity with the law.

Commissioner Abdullah Kamara who has oversight responsibility on Service Development and Market Structure said for Lonestar Cell to violate the law and continue to hide behind customers is unrealistic and misleading.

Commissioner Kamara said LoneStar will be effectively monitored during the suspension period and any violation by the Corporation will be met by stringent punitive action.

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