Regulator Intervenes In Liberia’s Telecoms Price War

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has announced that it is intervening in an ongoing price war involving the telecoms operators LonestarCell MTN and Orange.
The conflict is reported to have started back in 2012 with the ex-owner of Orange, Cellcom GSM.

Before the LTA’s intervention, the operators rolled out campaigns offering subscribers three days’ worth of unlimited calls for US$1.

The regulator stated that the predatory price wars had stifled the growth of the industry and had led to a massive drop in revenues collected by the government that could have been used to provide social services, among many other things.

The LTA criticised operators and said that their anti-competitive behaviour had resulted in market instability.

According to the official figures that were released, between 2014 and 2017 the market lost over US$49-million to price competition after gross revenue had taken a dive from US$150-million in 2014 to an unsatisfactory US$101-million in 2017.

The Chairman of the LTA, Ivan Brown, said that mobile network operators had been forced to sell their packages below market costs and were not profitable.
The regulator ordered the operators to all adhere to a floor price that would limit the number of minutes made available to subscribers.

Following a consultation, both operators agreed to charge calls at US$0.0156 per minute while a megabyte of data would now cost US$0.0218.

Operators have since changed their pricing and their campaigns. LonestarCell MTN said that its subscribers could still enjoy the offer of US$1 for three days, but it had capped the call duration to 45 minutes within its network and only 10 minutes for calls made to other networks.

Local subscribers have expressed much dissatisfaction with the LTA’s move to end promotions and recently protested outside the regulator’s premises in Paynesville, east of Monrovia.


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