LIBERIA GOES FOR ANOTHER BIDDING ROUND FOR LTC

Telecoms

There is to be another round of bidding to sell off the largely destroyed Liberian Telecommunications Corporation. It has only a few, badly functioning fixed lines in the capital but retains a monopoly on the international gateway. Workers at LTC are demanding that the winner of the first round of bidding be allowed to take over the company. The Head of the Government thinks otherwise but will hand over to the newly elected government in January.

There are four mobile operators: Lonestar (owned by Lebanese former President Charles Taylor’s Liberian Communications Corporation, which also has Lebanese shareholders), Comium (Lebanese-owned); Libercell (owned by Atlantic Wireless International, which Lebanese and Liberian shareholders); and Cellcom (US and Israeli-owned). There are currently over 10,000 subscribers and operators have spread their networks up to towns on the Ivorian and Guinean borders. There are only two ISPs, mobile operators Comium and Libercell.

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications acts as the regulator and has brokered an interconnection agreement between LTC, Comium and Libercell. The other two operators have refused to sign an agreement. According to the regulator, if they do not sign they could have their licences revoked when the first annual review is made next year.