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Liberia Telecommunications Authority Contributing to Macro-economic Stability of the Nation

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Monrovia – The Liberia Telecommunications Authority says it remains committed to protecting the greater interests of the consumers of telecommunications products. It further states that it will do all it can to continuously serve the public interest and will always remain engaged with operators and will not interfere with promotions that will support the sustainability of the sector.

In a statement issued Tuesday, September 3, the LTA Board of Commissioners, vowed to only intervene as a regulatory institution to address situations that will affect public good and contribute to macro-economic instability of the nation.

The LTA also disclosed that they, in consultation with LoneStar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia, have commenced the implementation of floor pricing for on-net voice calls and data services as of September 1, 2019.

The floor price, which was determined after months of consultations, will ensure that no operator charges below the cost of producing voice and data services. 

According to the LTA, the floor price intervention seeks to curb years of predatory pricing, which has greatly affected the viability of the telecommunications industry and overall macro-economic stability. 

“A further delay by the LTA to take this remedial action could have caused another operator to exit the market like the way Libercell and NOVAfone left the market. Hence LTA has to intervene to prevent a monopoly, with one provider controlling the market, a condition that would have truly robbed the people.”

It is expected that the LTA’s intervention as a regulatory measure shall stabilize the telecommunications market. In their strategy, the immediate benefits to stabilize the market are to prevent mobile networks operators (MNO) from decommissioning communication towers in rural communities and to ensure that people remain connected while the long time benefit is to improve quality of service, expand network coverage, infrastructure and restore sector viability.

New floor pricing set by the Liberian government is going to change the way Liberians have been communicating via mobile phone for the last five years, bringing a halt to the most-appreciated ‘three days free calls’ promotion on the two GSM companies operating in the country.

The new regulation, which came into force on September 1, according to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), is an intervention to calls by MNO “to stop their predatory pricing wars which have stifled sector growth and plummeted revenue significantly over the last few years. Our market research indicators showed the sector’s instability and anti-competitive behavior was a major factor.” 

In accordance with the new pricing, voice packages will now have a minimum floor price of $1.56 on each call provided in packages to customers by their MNO. Data packages will now have a minimum floor price of $2.18 per Megabyte (MB) of data provided to customers by their MNO. Monthly minutes and megabytes totals will be used to assess compliance, in other words, their monthly volume. 

Based on the new prices, Orange for example, claims to still be offering the US$1 for ‘three days call’ but voice time has been limited to 45 minutes to be used within three days. Previously, US$1 could buy an unlimited voice bundle that would last for three days.

Orange’s counterpart, LoneStar Cell MTN, on the other hand up to press time on Sunday has not made its new prices for voice calls public. The GSM Company, however, said its readjusting prices to conform to the LTA’s regulation.

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