4 December 2012

Liberia: Court Halts LTA Against Lone Star Cell

The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) has been served a stay order by the Civil Law Court not to pursue any action against the GSM Company Lonestar Cell MTN, after the latter defied the plan to suspend its two operating licenses from December 3 to December 5, 2012.

Following weeks of doubts within some quarters that the LTA lacks the technical capacity to stop the Lonestar Cell MTN from making calls to other networks, the regulator's suspension order did not come in force yesterday until the court issued the stay order.

Civil Law Court Judge Yusif D. Kaba directs the LTA to stay all further proceedings in connection with the suspension of Lonestar Cell MTN operating licenses.

On Friday, November 16, 2012, the Chair of the LTA Board of Commissioners Madam Angelique Weeks, said the suspension of Lonestar MTN's licenses was reached to serve as punitive measure, resulting from the company's "unilateral implementation of unauthorized change in the status of its interconnection with Comium GSM Liberia from 18 to 21 May, 2012.

Madam Weeks announced that the suspension would have commenced at 12:01 am on 3 December 2012 and continue for three days until 12 midnight on 5 December 2012. LTA further required Lonestar Cell MTN to pay 25% of the revenues to government out of calls it was to make at certain places where it is a lone service provider.

But in defiance, Lonestar Cell MTN refused LTA's suspension order over claims that its customers would have bore greater punishment for the company's fault. The company had opted for an alternative punitive measure for disconnecting Comium GSM for three days, rather than to be shut down by the LTA.

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