Liberia: Lonestar Cell MTN - "We're Still Offering 3-Days 'Free' Calls Promotion"

Christal-Dionne Reeves, Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager for Lonestar Cell MTN, has assured Liberians that the company will maintain the '3 days free calls' promotion.'

Ms. Reeves, who spoke to the Daily Observer, said that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have adjusted the package to comply with the new floor prices prescribed by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).

She explained that customers would still talk for 'allotted minutes' for US$1 within the same three days period. "So, effectively, you can buy a dollar $1 and call for three days as you used to but with a reduction in the allotted minutes."

Ms. Reeves said, "$1 now gives customers 45 minutes for Lonestar numbers, 10 minutes to other networks, free SMS and 50MB data."

In accordance with LTA order 0016-02-25-19, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority announced the implementation of Floor Prices, a regulatory tool used to compensate for lack of a mechanism to ensure market stability.

The measure is in response to call for intervention by Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to stop predatory pricing wars, which has stifled the sector growth and plummeted revenue significantly.

LTA market research indicators show the sectors' instability and anti-competitive behavior are a major factor, so it had to perform its role as the regulator to intervene and save the market from collapse.

It notes that what was actually happening is Mobile Network Operators were forced to sell packages below market costs, which was clearly not profitable, adding, "the promotional packages were sold at the cost of diminishing revenue to providers. Diminishing revenue hinders innovation, stalls infrastructure nationwide and decreases revenue to government that could be used to provide social services, among others."

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