“Lonestar and Orange GSM Fined US$300,000 Each For Violation”; LTA Reveals

By: Feeme Wantee

Liberia: The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) has fined Lonestar and Orange GSM Companies US$300,000 each for gross regulatory violations.

Speaking at Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism regular press briefing on June 27, 2024, Abdullah Kamara, acting Chairman of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority said that the fines are as the result of both GSM Companies violating the floor price and refusal to submit critical data with revenue implications.

A floor price is a regulatory intervention tool used to stabilize a declining market.
The floor price intervention stabilized the sector, revenue rose and provider were able to expand their networks and become more innovative.

The LTA Boss narrated that Lonestar and Orange provided more minutes per dollars to customers below the market price, leading to price war between both GSM service providers.

He stressed that the act may seem favorable for customers but it leads to network traffic, generally poor service quality and decline in government revenue.

“In 2019 we used it to set a minimum consumer package price for both data and voice. Providers were unable to expand their networks and towers were being decommissioned nationalwide. Providers were even laying off staff. The result? a shrinking telecom landscape”.

“It has been happening over the last year or so however, is a slow return to pre floor price offerings and once again we are experiencing a sharp decline in the market and government revenue capacity. This is not good”, Kamara added.

At the same time, Kamara disclosed that there have been effort in resolving the matter but both GSM Companies have refused to aheard to the LTA mandate.

“The MNO’s are fully aware of their actions being a direct cause of this disruption in the market .The LTA has previously called them and urged them to slowly introduce packages within the floor price metric.They have not. Today, the board of commissioners has reviewed the situation and determined to penalize.

“Orange has a cross border connectivity license with the Ivory Coast which they acquired from the LTA in violation of their license.Their acquisition of that temporary License was not in writing and therefore in violation” LTA Boss lamented.

Additionally, Liberia Telecommunication Authority has discovered three new unreported links belonging to Orange GSM Company.

Two of the unreported links are international and one is local.

“They didn’t inform the LTA and this too is in direct violation of their license. Data collection from these links cannot be verified unless they are indeed reported and permission is granted in writing from the LTA” Chairman Kamara stated.

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