The face-off between the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and major telecoms company LoneStar Cell/MTN has escalated with the regulator threatening further action and the operator alleging foul play.
According to the LTA board, it is watching closely how the company would handle the suspension of its services as reported by HumanIPO yesterday (Tuesday).
The suspension was a response to Lonestar Cell/MTN’s unilateral implementation of an unauthorized change in the status of its interconnection with Comium, another GSM Company, from May 18-21, 2012, despite a directive from LTA to have the interconnection between the two companies restored.
The regulator said if LoneStar Cell/MTN violates any aspect of the three-day service suspension, it would come down heavily with tougher measures.
In response the operator is accusing LTA of allegedly fronting for another unnamed service provider in Liberia’s telecoms industry.
But in a news conference held yesterday to accentuate its decision against LoneStar Cell/MTN,
representatives of the LTA board said the verdict remained unchanged.
Commissioner Henry Benson said all stakeholders in the country’s telecoms sector were consulted. He added the board also carried along the management of LoneStar Cell/MTN l throughout the entire course of the decision-making process.
“We took everything into consideration before taking the decision. We had consultations with all
stakeholders including those in the counties, and also with management of Lonestar Cell/MTN. I believe we acted right,” Benson said.
While agreeing the decision could have serious repercussions, he said it has become necessary for the board to take the action.
The member of the board in charge of service development and marketing structure, Commissioner Abdullah Kamara, said LoneStar Cell/MTN trespassed against the law, but instead of owning up to its mistakes, the company has used its customers as a shield in a “propaganda battle”.
According to him, the decision of the LTA is not meant to give any operator any edge over another as alleged by LoneStar Cell/MTN; rather ensure the laws governing the telecoms sector are respected.
LoneStar Cell/MTN are expected to challenge the decision of the LTA in court.