MTN Liberia slapped with $500,000 fine
The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has slapped a fine of $500,000 on GSM operator Lonestar for “negligence and omission on the part of the Lonestar management” which led to an outage on its network on November 7, 2011.
The LTA said that the fine is to be paid “within a week” and ordered Lonestar, which is part of South Africa’s MTN Group, to give all its subscribers four hours of free call time on a day to be determined by the LTA.
“The LTA will work closely with Lonestar to ensure the successful implementation of this order,” the regulator said in a statement.The LTA said that it had spent the past two months investigating the outage, which occurred during a “politically motivated” riot in the capital city of Monrovia.The LTA said that Lonestar’s explanation for the outage “did not jive” with the results of its investigation.
However, in a statement sent to CommsMEA, MTN Liberia’s Corporate Communication Executive, Dr. Laurence Bropleh, said that the network outage was the result of an “unprecedented volume of calls at a base station provisioned to handle traffic in certain parts of the Monrovia network coverage area”.
He added that the outage lasted for about 90 minutes and was isolated to a specific location and did not affect the entire network. “The LTA has since requested more data and information for further analysis and a final decision. MTN Lonestar Cell has offered additional details to assist the LTA in its reassessment of its findings,” Bropleh said.
The LTA added that LaminiWaritay, Liberia’s Commissioner for Public and Consumer Affairs, hoped that the fine would send “an unmistakable message not only to Lonestar, but other network operators” that their licensing terms require them provide proper services to their subscribers at all times.
In the statement, the LTA added that LaminiWaritay, Liberia’s Commissioner for Public and Consumer Affairs, hoped that the fine would send “an unmistakable message not only to Lonestar, but other network operators” that their licencing terms require them to provide proper services to their subscribers at all times.