Against the backdrop of the ongoing telecommunications war that has been waging between Liberia’s two mobile network operators and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), cogent information has reached The Analyst that a backroom deal has been brokered that will see the mobile network operators, Lonestar Cell/MTN and Orange, restoring the 45 minute voice call and data package soon.
Although our source could not confirm the specifics of the negotiations, it is expected that customers of the two mobile networks will see a restoration of data and voice calls package recently cut when the GSM companies introduced the new tariffs which they justified as emanating from the LTA’s Order 0016-02-25-19.
Immediately following the negotiations, Orange Liberia CEO Mamadou Coulibaly posted on his social media page that a deal had been brokered between the two GSM companies and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority.
“I am happy to announce that after much negotiating, the LTA, Orange and Lonestar/MTN have reached a common ground to remove surcharges. This is a major victory for the entire Liberia. Congratulations! To celebrate, we will announce amazing gifts for our customers soon,” Mr. Coulibaly stated joyously.
The news about the two mobile networks returning to status quo ante was also cushioned by a social media post from Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, to the effect that: “45 mins voice call and data shall be restored soon. It was insensitive on part of LTA to have imposed the unreasonable tariff.”
It can be recalled that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) recently condemned the ongoing telecommunications war and called for a speedy resolution in the matter, while specifically singling out Lonestar Cell MTN as the mastermind behind pitting the citizens against the government of Liberia a manner that smells of economic sabotage.
According to the National Chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, the LTA’s policy of floor pricing was intended to protect Lonestar Cell MTN from an aggressive price raise from the bottom that was being waged by Orange Liberia, a competition that would have led to Lonestar Cell going out of business.
“The government worked to protect Lonestar Cell in order to provide a level playing field in saving hundreds of Liberian jobs that would have been redundant by Lonestar Cell MTN,” Chairman Morlu said, lamenting further that, sadly, it is the very Lonestar Cell that is acting in a manner contrary to the interest of the Liberian people, thereby ignoring the positive intervention of the government of Liberia to save them from potential bankruptcy.
Regarding the current impasse between the LTA and the two GSM operators, Chairman Morlu called on the LTA and the GSM companies to resolve all disagreements in the soonest possible time to provide relief for Liberians, noting that the breakdown in negotiations between the two mobile network operators, Lonestar Cell MTN, and the LTA, has led to litigation culminating into the recent Supreme Court ruling favoring the Government of Liberia.
“We believe, despite this ruling, both sides should return to the dispute resolution mechanism enshrined in the Act establishing the LTA, or to other suitable frameworks that place the Supreme Court ruling in its proper context,” Chairman Morlu had stated.
He emphasized that the CDC wants the GSM companies to refrain from any form of political machinations or collusion, which is a crime of economic sabotage, that indirectly place the ordinary people against their own government.
“While do not aim to dwell on details of recent pronouncements by GSM companies, the recent price changes announced by both companies have elements of collusion and unlawful profiteering, which is punishable under the laws of the Republic of Liberia. We remind the GSM companies that it is always the interest of the Government of Liberia to protect businesses and their investments, but to do so in a way that enhances the interest of the Liberian people,” Chairman Morlu emphatically stated.
“The CDC reminds Liberians that LTA’s policy of floor pricing was intended to protect Lonestar Cell MTN from an aggressive price raise from the bottom that was being waged by Orange Liberia, a competition that would have led to Lonestar Cell going out of business. The government worked to protect Lonestar Cell in order to provide a level playing field in saving hundreds of Liberian jobs that would have been redundant by Lonestar Cell MTN. Sadly, it is the very Lonestar Cell that is acting in a manner contrary to the interest of the Liberian people, thereby ignoring the positive intervention of the government of Liberia to save them from potential bankruptcy,” Chairman Morlu averred, while calling on the LTA to exercise prudence when announcing policies that have implications on the Liberian people and that may pose risks to the reputation of the Government of Liberia.