MTN Liberia (Lonestar Cell) says it will take the national regulator, Liberian Telecommunications Authority (LTA), to court if it goes ahead with its plan to suspend the cellco’s GSM operating licences for the second time – currently set to take place between 3rd and 5th of December. MTN’s services were due to have been suspended by the LTA in May this year, but it took the case to court in June and the regulator subsequently stayed its hand.
Earlier this month the LTA reaffirmed that its decision to suspend MTN Liberia’s operating licences for three days is ‘irreversible’. LTA chair Angelique Weeks confirmed the suspension of MTN’s two operational licences is the result of the cellco’s earlier ‘unilateral’ implementation of an ‘unauthorised’ change in the status of its interconnection with fellow operator Comium Liberia between 18 May and 21 May 2012. Ms Weeks said that MTN Liberia’s failure to comply with its directive to restore full interconnection by 21 May 2012 is the reason for the punitive action.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reports that the matter has rumbled on since June this year when the watchdog was reportedly considering suspending the cellco’s two operating licences in relation to its ‘unilateral disconnection’ of Comium Liberia. In a press release at the time, the LTA said that the action related to MTN Liberia’s non-compliance with the subsequent instruction of the LTA to reconnect Comium within a specific timeframe. However, the LTA muddied the water over the ruling, saying that ‘the modalities of implementing the suspension decision are being discussed between Lonestar Cell [the brand name of MTN Liberia] and the LTA as well as with other GSM networks and service providers, including the point in time when the suspension will begin and how it will be implemented in a way that will have less far-reaching impact on consumers.’