The Board of Commissioners of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is expressing regrets that the GSM service provider Cellcom, has refused to submit to Interconnect (ICC) data requested by the LTA for the investigations of the interconnectivity dispute which has been ongoing between Cellcom and the Lonestar communications company.
The LTA notes that despite the LTA’s order on November 30, 2011 requesting Cellcom to provide key Call Data Record (CDR) and supporting information requested by the ICC, Cellcom has deliberately refused to pay heed and adhere to the deadline of Thursday December 1, 2011 for compliance with the order.
Since September this year the LTA’s attention has been drawn to, and has appropriately been dealing with an ongoing interconnectivity fees dispute between Lonestar and Cellcom in which Lonestar is alleging that Cellcom owes it certain amounts in interconnection payments; a claim Cellcom is disputing.
Given the gravity of the situation, especially its ongoing adverse impact on telephone subscribers of both GSM companies, the LTA has since brought in an external auditor – Interconnect – (ICC) for the purpose of verifying the interconnectivity fees claims being made by both Cellcom and Lonestar.
While the LTA has been endeavoring to achieve a speedy resolution of the dispute, the LTA regrets to note that Cellcom has bluntly refused to provide upon request of the ICC, data necessary for the ongoing investigation into the interconnectivity fees claims.
The LTA Board wishes to have sector stakeholders informed that despite this uncooperative stance by Cellcom, the LTA is determined to bring to a timely closure the interconnectivity dispute between Lonestar and Cellcom, thereby providing relief to affected subscribers.
Indeed, the LTA remains mindful of its statutory responsibility to ensure that no service provider operating in Liberia is allowed to violate the terms and conditions stated in its license and, by extension, the Telecom Act. Among other things, the Act mandates the LTA to ensure that the right of consumers to freely interconnect and communicate at any time throughout the country is not compromised.
Chapter VIII, Section 34 (2) of the LTA Act of 2007 also states that the following actions or practices shall be deemed to be in violation of the Telecom Law:
(a) Obstructing or delaying negotiations, or failing to make reasonable efforts to resolve outstanding disputes;
(b) Refusing to provide information about a service provider’s own telecommunications services or telecommunications network or other facilities that are necessary for the interconnection arrangements.
Section 11, 1) t and u, also states that the LTA has the capacity and responsibility to:
•require information to be provided that the LTA needs in order to exercise its powers or perform its functions under this Act, including network or service development plans, financial, technical and statistical information, accounting records and any other information that the LTA reasonably requires;
•on the initiative of the LTA or upon request by another person, investigate complaints against licensees or other service providers, and conduct such other investigations as the LTA deems necessary to ensure compliance with this Act, a regulation, rule or order, and issue an order in respect of anything prohibited, required or permitted to be done under this Act, a regulation, rule or order
Meanwhile, the LTA is actively considering other cases relating to potential breaches of licensing terms and conditions by service providers concerned and will make the outcome known to the public at the appropriate time.