Cellcom in the watchdog’s spotlight over ‘4G’ network claim

8 Aug 2012

Liberian mobile operator Cellcom, part of the Cellcom Telecommunications group, is facing an investigation from the national regulator, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), over the network operator’s claim that it is able to offer 4G-based services. The LTA has released a statement noting that Cellcom’s operating licences only cover 2G (GSM) and 3G (W-CDMA/HSPA) cellular services. ‘With regard to Cellcom’s claim of having 4G capability, the LTA has embarked on an investigation exercise to determine the veracity of this claim as is being advertised by Cellcom,’ the watchdog said in the statement.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in June this year Cellcom launched what it is calling a fourth-generation (4G) mobile network in Liberia, offering customers advanced videocalling and high speed mobile internet access as affordable rates. However, TeleGeography notes that it is unlikely that the new infrastructure is a true 4G platform, given that in May this year Cellcom revealed it was planning to deploy a high speed HSPA+ mobile network in partnership with Huawei, claiming a first for the African country. Cellcom’s HSPA+ overlay will provide peak download data speeds of 21Mbps, roughly ten times faster than 3G, he added, although the carrier stopped short of providing details on what areas will be covered by the new infrastructure, or when services will be offered commercially to end users. As such, the mobile operator is unlikely to be in breach of its operating licence as the HSPA+ upgrade does not constitute a 4G network.

Liberia, Orange Liberia