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|Liberia Telecommunications Regulator Suspends Lonestar Cell/MTN for 3 Days||| Print ||
|Written by Board of Commissioners(BOC) of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)|
|Friday, 16 November 2012 17:46|
Monrovia - The Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority(LTA), Thursday, 15 November 2012, informed the Management of Lonestar Communications Corporation(Lonestar Cell/MTN as a punitive measure resulting from Lonestar Cell/MTNs:
a. Unilateral implementation of an unauthorized change in the status of its interconnection with Comium Liberia from 18 May 2012 to 21 May 2012;
b. Failure to timely comply with the LTA’s directive to restore fully by 5:00 PM, Monday, 21 May 2012, the interconnection between Lonestarcell and Comium Liberia as it existed prior to Lonestarcell MTN’s 18 May 2012 unilateral implementation of the said unauthorized change; and
c. Recalcitrance considering Lonestarcell MTN’s previous unauthorized shutting down of its interconnection link with another operator in 2010.
For purposes of this Decision, “suspension” means that Lonestar Cell/MTN customers will be able to receive calls but will not be able to make calls for the duration of the suspension period.
To minimize the impact of this decision on customers in those areas in which only Lonestar Cell/MTN provides service, said areas will be exempted from the Suspension Order such that those customers will be allowed to receive and make calls. However, Lonestar Cell/MTN shall pay 25% of the revenues generated from such operations to the Government of Liberia(GOL).
The suspension is slated to commence at 12:01 am on 3 December 2012 and continue for three days until 12 Midnight on 5 December 2012. A major factor that influenced the BoC’s decision to reduce the duration of the suspension is Section 20(5) of the Telecommunications Act of 2007, which states that where a license is suspended, revoked or not renewed, the LTA shall take into account continuity of service to customers and include in its order such terms and conditions as it deems appropriate.
The LTA had previously announced in June 2012 that Lonestar Cell/MTN had been informed of the BoC’s Initial Decision to suspend Lonestar Cell/MTN’s License for two(2) weeks because of the aforementioned reasons. However, before the LTA could implement further procedural steps including issuance of its order to that effect, Lonestar Cell/MTN filed a Court Petition seeking Judicial Review of the LTA’s decisions. This legal action by Lonestar Cell/MTN put a stay on further proceedings by the LTA, pending conclusion of the Court Action.
Lonestar Cell/MTN subsequently withdrew its petition, which freed the LTA to continue with the requisite procedural steps in furtherance of the BoC’s initial Decision to suspend Lonestar Cell/MTN’s two(2) Licenses.
As required by the Telecommunications Act of 2007 and the LTA’s Licensing Reuglations, the BoC by letter dated 17 July 2012 informed Lonestar Cell/MTN that the effective date of the proposed suspension would be determined after due consideration of inputs received during stakeholders consultations and that Lonestar Cell/MTN would have 30 days from the date of the receipt of the 17 July 2012 letter to prepare and provide to the LTA, comments on the proposed suspension. Lonestar Cell/MTN was also informed that the following procedures would be used in implementing the decision to suspend Lonestarcell MTN’s Licenses.
The LTA would notify the Public; invite comments from sector operators/service providers, other interested parties, as well as the general public; issue of the LTA Order not later than seven(7) days after concluding all consultations. Lonestar Cell/MTN was also informed that it would be given prior and that the subsequent LTA Order would indicate the punitive measures to be taken against Lonestar Cell/MTN, the date on which the punitive measure would be implemented and the duration thereof.
Over the ensuing months, and before arriving at its Final Decision, the BoC considered several factors, including inputs from Lonestar Cell/MTN itself, other sector operators, a cross-section of the general public, as well as the BoC’s own research. The BoC also held extensive deliberations on numerous occasions and for several days before notifying Lonestar Cell/MTN of its Final Decision. The Suspension Order is expected to be issued shortly.