A three day suspension of services delivered by LoneStar Cell/MTN in Liberia will cost 5,000 jobs, according to the mobile operator.
As reported by HumanIPO last week, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is imposing the suspension in response to Lonestar Cell/MTN’s unilateral implementation of an unauthorised 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.
But the operator, which is also threatening legal action, has said more than 5,000 qualified Liberians will become unemployed. This was disclosed by the company’s corporate communications executive, Dr Lawrence K Bropleh.
Lawrence said the suspension, if allowed to go ahead, will be a serious security nightmare to the country. In addition to the major job loss, he said more woes are bound to befall the industry which he said are not in the best interest of the nation’s security.
“Imagine the level of chaos that the dismissal of just 40 persons from the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is causing in the country.
“It has now become the discussion in every street corner and centers around Monrovia. What more you remove over 5,000 Liberians who have their dependents from job at once. This poses a great threat to national security and we shouldn’t be taking that trance,” he said.
The LTA said LoneStar’s decision came on the heels of a similar action of LoneStar when in 2010 it also shunted its interconnection link with another operator making the company “recalcitrant”. The regulator has already threatened to enforce further sanctions if the operator does not cooperate.
Explaining the logistics put in place to safeguard the network’s subscribers during the service suspension, LTA said the network’s subscribers will be allowed to receive calls but outgoing calls will not be allowed throughout the entire duration of the suspension.
Furthermore, the LTA also clarified that in areas where LoneStar Cell MTN is the only service provider, such areas will be exempted from the suspension order.
In other words, customers in those areas will be able to receive and make calls. But the company will be made to pay a quarter of the revenues generated from such operations to the Government of Liberia.