Monrovia - The cellular giant, LoneStar Cell MTN, has rejected findings in a leaked report by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, suggesting that GSM Operator without prior authorization from the LTA reinstalled or reactivated a telecommunications dish, which can be used to supply broadband data capacity from the Ivory Coast to Liberia.
In its findings, the team reported that after careful assessment of the three GSM mobile operators' sites in Grand Gedeh and Nimba it observed that a microwave dish has been installed at the same height and in the same position as the decommissioned microwave dish connecting LoneStarcell/MTN to Ivory Coast at LoneStarcell/MTN site at the border town of Toe Town. The finding furthered “In Yekepa on the old mine mined by LAMCO, Cellcom and LoneStarcell/MTN dishes seem to have orientation directed away from the Ivory Coast and Guinea”.
The report recommended that LoneStarcell/MTN should be requested to provide purpose and function of the newly -installed microwave dish at Toes Town, the team further recommended and also called on the LTA to purchase a compass to facilitate future exercises. The LTA and LoneStar Cell have in the past been involved in exchanges over compliance with regulations.
In December 2012, the Board of Commissioners of the LTA reached a decision to suspend the operating license of Lonsetar cell. LTA Chairperson Angelique Weeks at the time announced that the decision was taken as a punitive measure resulting from failure of the LoneStar to comply with the LTA’s directive to restore fully interconnection with Comium Liberia, another GSM service provider at the time. It remains to be seen what action the LTA will take against the two GSM service providers for their actions.
But on Monday, Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh, the company’s Corporate Affairs Executive, responding to a FrontPageAfrica inquiry Monday, said in a statement that the GSM company has not re-commissioned a previously decommissioned telecommunications dish located in Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County and that it is not receiving broadband data capacity from the Ivory Coast as is being speculated by an incomplete ‘leaked’ LTA fact finding due diligence report
Said Dr. Bropleh: “While LoneStar Cell MTN acknowledges that the terms of its current International Gateway License issued by the LTA give the company the right to establish satellite and other links with international carriers and networks and, though it has written the LTA informing of its intent to reconnect the previously disconnected telecommunications dish, it has not done so as yet.
LoneStar Cell MTN notes that a technical team from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority visited its facility in January, 2015 and observed that there was no traffic between LoneStar Cell MTN and its sister network in the Ivory Coast. To date, there has been no change.”
But Weeks, was quoted in a local daily Monday as saying that LTA previously had the dish removed and LoneStar Cell MTN has not received the National Regulator’s authorization to reinstall it. According to the LTA, LoneStar Cell MTN risks serious penalties if it is determined that the GSM company reconnected the dish or has been receiving data capacity from neighboring Ivory Coast.
Dr. Bropleh recalled that LoneStar Cell MTN, a member of the Cable Consortium of Liberia has invested over 2.5 Million United States Dollars in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fiber optic to Liberia and is an effective user of same. It is to LoneStar Cell MTN’s advantage to have all its traffic on the fiber optic, which is why LoneStar remains in active negotiations for the usage of the fiber duct.”
Fiber optic is an internet connection that provides fast speed internet to users and some African countries are currently benefiting from the technology. Internet service in Liberia is very slow as compare to other countries and installing a fiber optic will be a relief to many, but perhaps a dip in revenue for GSM internet providers.
Bropleh said LoneStar Cell MTN, a partner in support of the Government of Liberia’s development agenda will never act in contrary manners that will undermine the government’s agenda. LoneStar Cell MTN remains compliant with all of its tax obligations to the government and can fathom no reasons while this should ever change. LoneStar MTN’s denial comes in the wake of confirmation of a leaked report published by FrontPageAfrica last week by Angelique Weeks, the Chairperson for the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).
Weeks was quoted in a local daily Monday as confirming the existence of the leaked assessment report of a preliminary due diligence mission conducted by the entity to validate suspicions that a previously decommissioned LoneStar Cell MTN telecommunications dish had been reinstalled.
The report noted that the LTA was contemplating dismantling the telecommunications dish in question, which is mounted on a tower in Toe Town, Grand Gedeh County bordering neighboring Ivory Coast.
According to the report, the telecommunications dish appears to be positioned where a previous LoneStar Cell MTN dish was removed and decommissioned by the LTA in August 2012 and quoted Weeks as saying that the dish will be taken down the first week in February “to ensure that pending completion of the investigation, there is no capacity coming from the Ivory