New Democrat (Monrovia)

Liberia: Lonestar Suspension Shaky

The suspension of the LoneStar Phone Company by the Liberia Telecommunication Company (LTA) may not come to fruition following a "Notice of Arbitration" filed by the company placing a stay order on the suspension.

LTA on November 16 accused LoneStar Cell/MTN of effecting an unauthorized change in interconnectivity schedule with COMUIM Liberia, another licensed GSM company operating in the country, and subsequently suspended the LoneStar for the violation.

But since then there has been speculation on whether the suspension will hold in the midst of the issuance of the Notice of Arbitration which is in keeping with international best practice.

The suspension is expected to last for three days beginning December 3, 2012. But the stay order filed by LoneStar means the Suspension Order cannot come to effect until both parties can meet and discuss a way forward.

With the issuance of the Stay Order there should be a third party to sit with LoneStar and LTA to find a way forward, LoneStar's Public Relations Manager, Mr. Lawrence Bropleh told this paper yesterday.

Mr. Lawrence Bropleh said "I do not think LoneStar will Be suspended in the midst of the order we've filed. I know the time is coming closer but we need to sit and talk."

Asked whether the Suspension Order has been issued LoneStar as the LTA promised to do so, he said that did not matter anymore. "That is not our concern for now," he pointed out.

Even though the previous press release announcing the decision for the suspension said "the Suspension Order is expected to be issued shortly," the Communication Manager of the LTA Mr. Blamo Robinson refused to comment on whether or not the Order has been issued.

But he however said since the LTA received the Order from LoneStar, discussions have been ongoing between both parties.

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