The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) has sharply reacted to speculations here that government and Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) providers are considering the cancelation of the “three – days – free call” promotion.
LTA official Mr. Israel Arkinsanya told Prime FM morning show, on Thursday, 13 December in Monrovia that the promotion stands and remains active.
But he says there are negotiations of improving the sector which could affect price of recharge cards.According to him, the three days call promotion is seriously affecting the GSM companies here, saying if nothing is done, one of the companies is considering pulling out.
LoneStar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia are now the two remaining GSM companies.The LTA Commissioner Mr. Arkinsanya adds that within the subregion, the Liberia is the lowest in terms of paying tariff on telephone calls and internet usage.He argues that the rest of the countries around the subregion are far expensive.
According to him, the government has no intent of cancelling the threes – days call promotion, but there will be some adjustments in the fees so as to create an improved service to users.He indicates that this is intended to enable the government to generate the needed revenue and also enable the service providers to remain on the market here.
Mr. Arkinsanya narrates that LTA’s Board of Commissioners have a fear of seeing the telecommunication sector being monopolized if one GSM company pulls out.
He warns that this could lead Liberia to have one company operational.
Prior to Orange Liberia, formerly Cellcom GSM and other network’s coming into the GSM sector, Liberia’s only GSM company at the time, LoneStar Cell GSM sold its SIM Card for US$65.00, and consumers were given one week to use their US$5.00 recharge card or the company would block further usage of the credit after seven days.
Mr. Arkinsanya intimates that the anticipated added fees will improve the telecommunication sector and could lead to the country elevating to high speed internet. The LTA is the regulatory authority charged with the statutory responsibility to ensure a vibrant telecommunications sector in Liberia.
Recently, the LTA posted on its website a proposal for new floor pricing for both voice calls and data. The proposal sets the floor price for voice call at US$0.156 per minute and data at US$0.218 per megabyte.
The LTA says it has calculated, in collaboration with Orange Liberia and Lonestar Cell MTN, that the cost for one minute of telephone call is 0.0156 cents (LD$2.336) and that the cost for one megabyte of internet data is 0.0218 cents (LD$3.4008).
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley