Liberia launches probe into Lonestar MTN, Orange’s poor track record on rural coverage

9 Mar 2020

Liberia’s House of Representative has tasked the Post and Telecommunication Committee to launch an investigation into domestic mobile network operators (MNOs) Lonestar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia over widespread complaints of poor telecoms services in rural parts of the country. The review was mandated on 3 March 2020, instigated by River Gee County District #1 Representative Alexander Poure, supported by Sinoe County counterpart, Matthew Zarzar. In a speech, Mr Poure commented on users’ reports of dropped calls, failures in SMS messages being sent, poor voice call quality, ‘opaque’ service charges and woefully inadequate mobile internet connectivity. The Post and Telecommunication Committee is expected to deliver its initial response on the MNOs’ performance within two weeks, and will also investigate the economic and social implications of the poor services on the rural population. Further, Matthew Zarzar asked the Committee to examine the problem of services being unavailable in some locations and what he termed ‘futile attempts’ by users to even make calls.

The development comes after it was revealed last month that the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is working in partnership with privately-owned Ghanaian towerco K-Net to provide cellular communications services in Parluken District #2, Grand Kru County. The LTA announcement confirmed that the installation of towers for the provision of mobile services to that rural part of Liberia has begun. ‘The issue about communication in the remotest part of Liberia is … alarming and disheartening but the case with Parluken, Grand Kru County is gradually becoming an easy one as a team from the [LTA] and K-Net are now in Parluken to set up the first towers,’ the release said.