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Deadlock in GSM Peace Deal?

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaThe Liberian Telecommunication Authority or LTA says it is awaiting Cellcom to withdraw a stay order placed on an independent investigation into the recent interconnectivity brawl between the latter and LoneStar Communication Corporation or LCC.

LTA Awaits Cellcom

The LCC recently reported that Cellcom was indebted to it to the tune of over US$1 million and that all efforts to persuade the latter to pay was falling on Cellcom’s Management deaf ears. LCC said at a press conference Monday that it had written the LTA to intervene but that Cellcom was still not cooperative.

The LTA’s head of Public Information, Mr. Anthony Selmah told this paper Thursday that although both companies were in compliance with its order to investigate the recent stalemate, there was still a hindrance because of the stay order filed against the regulator by Cellcom.

Cellcom filed a stay order against the LTA stopping the IT Company hired by the telecommunications regulators from proceeding with an independent audit of both GSM companies- The reason being that the said company had once worked for the LCC before.

But Mr. Selmah said the LTA has asked LCC to provide information on the scope of work this company had performed for it in the past. On the other hand, the LTA said it asked Cellcom to file an indemnity bond in favor of Lone Star in the amount of US$1,500.000.00 to guarantee payment of the disputed amount in the event that Lonestar allegation is proven correct.

Mr. Selmah said both parties were also ordered to submit to the LTA their call detail records and billing detail records for the period January 2009 up to and including April 20211 to form part of the independent audit. As to whether Cellcom had complied with the filing of the indemnity bond, Mr. Selmah said the company has but LTA cannot proceed until the stay order is withdrawn.

It was reported in several local dailies Monday that Cellcom had accused Lonestar  of illegally blocking its customers from calling other networks as a reduction in call rates from Cellcom to any GSM for nine cents per minute.

But Lonestar reacting to the published statement Monday said it did not in any way illegally blocked Cellcom costumers from calling other networks, but said Cellcom owe it (Lonestar cell) over 1million (in interconnectivity fees) that is using its network, adding that it is unacceptable. The Liberia GSM giant said the amount represents arrears dating as far back as June 2009 unto March, 2011.

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