The Liberia Telecommunication Authority assures Liberians and the general public that the US$1 three days promotion by GSM companies here is not being cancelled, as widely circulated.
The LTA in a statement released Wednesday, 04 September in Monrovia explains what’s actually happening is that customers would talk for allotted minutes for US$1 within the same three days period.“So, effectively, you can still buy a dollar $1 and call for three days as you used to but with a reduction in the allotted minutes,” the statement clarifies.
In accordance with LTA order 0016-02-25-19, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority announces the implementation of Floor Prices, a regulatory tool used to compensate for lack of market mechanism to ensure market stability. The measure is in response to call for intervention by Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to stop predatory pricing wars which has stifled the sector growth and plummeted revenue significantly.
LTA market research indicators show the sector’s instability and anti-competitive behavior are a major factor, so it had to perform its role as the regulator to intervene and save the market from collapse.
It notes that what was actually happening is Mobile Network Operators were forced to sell packages below market costs, which was clearly not profitable, adding “the promotional packages were sold at the cost of diminishing revenue to providers. Diminishing revenue hinders innovation, stalls infrastructure nationwide and decreases revenue to government that could be used to provide social services, among others.”
The statement intimatesthat in reality, the average customer was talking for less than 100 minutes over the 3 days period; the current promotions will see customers calling for about 45 minutes over the same period, well within the same three day period. Bottom line is, customers will still be able to communicate within the 3 days on a US$1.
The LTA held extensive consultations with Orange and LonestarCell MTN to derive at the floor price to stabilize the market before reaching the conclusion. Voice calls will now be charged at a minimum of 0.0156 on each call and 0.0218 MB of data, according to the statement.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor