“We Were Affected the Most” – Liberians Speak on Impact of Surcharges on Mobile Network Services
Monrovia – Liberians have expressed that over the past few days, the surcharge from GSM companies on data in voice calls has caused them serious impediments in attaining their livelihoods.
FrontPage Africa on Thursday spoke to some Liberians and this was what they had to say.
Mary Kerkula- Students Activist
“It has been a difficult time for ordinary Liberians alike us. The burdens were twice double than it was before and I think we have had a hectic time.
Again, the regulatory arm that responsible for the tariff on data and voice calls which happen to be the Liberia Telecommunication Authority -they should be very careful as it relates to the issue of increment in tariff on both GSM companies.
Because if those laws should be put into place, the ordinary customers become the direct victim. So, going forward, any decision that LTA will make toward the GSM companies –it’s should be in the best interest of the ordinary people.”
Ansu Konneh- Businessman
“For me, during the past few days, I found the increase in the surcharge on call and data very difficult. Nowadays, communication allows us to do our business smoothly.
It is from calls and the internet that we do our business more. We sent our goods samples through the internet to our custobers, but when the data dropped, it gives us hard time.
For me, I started receiving so many please calls. Even my children home had to send me please call -but at the time it was three days for 45 minutes, at least I could afford to give all my children credit on their phones. My children also found it difficult especially when it comes to doing their assignments.
My recommendation to the government is to bring some competition within the communication sector. Let them promote LETELLCO. Let LETELLCO bring us phones without sim cards. Where we can travel everywhere make a call or use the internet, and I think the government will make more money and private companies will not make fools without us. See how they challenge the government’s mandate to reduce the surcharge.”
Romeo Fabulle-Resident of Doe Community
“There were so many challenges. Orange GSM in the first place started to reduce my data. I noticed even my call. I was having money on my phone and a friend of mine sent me credit and they took away my credit.
Even my data. I pay for the 600 megabytes and in less than no time, I could not access the internet the way I wanted it. My network was on, my credit was going but then my page was not opening the right way. So, it has been a serious problem for me.
We know that when the government increased tariff businesses will increase their price because in businesss it is all about profit making. But even with that, the increment from GSM companies was more than 50 percent. Even if the government increase tariff like they said you cannot take the call from 45 munites to that of 15 munites. Look at the disparity there, the disparity is too high.
I was thinking that –what is happening to the GSM Companies. What are those CEO thinking about? They cannot behave like that to the people. Our government needs to have control.
Again, since the government and the GSM companies have harmonized thing GSM companies need to pay back our money, that will be a good customer ship for them.”
Varfee Dukuly- UL Student
“Because of the surcharge from GSM companies I was not able to log into my eLearning platform at the University of Liberia.
I did not go through my eLearning process because I never had data and it has resulted in me missing some of my coruses and assignments I had to do.
Also, I was unable to reach out to some friends and family members, it was not easy.
We understand that the government increases the tariff on GSM companies. Organge and Lonestar did not just wake up by themselves to say we are increasing surcharge. Let the government understand that these things affect the ordinary Liberian people. If the government wants to increase tax, there are lots of means they can increase tax. For example, they can increase the tax on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. And it will even help to minimize smoking and drunkenness.”