Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Universal Licence regime comes into play

After more than a decade of civil war which destroyed much of its infrastructure, Liberia became a prime example of an almost entirely wireless telecommunications market. Four GSM mobile operators compete for customers – LoneStarGSM (majority owned by South Africa’s MTN), Comium (Novafone), Cellcom and LiberCell.

Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs as well as the mobile networks using GPRS, EDGE, HSPA and WiMAX technologies. The high cost and limited bandwidth of satellite connections means that most service offerings remain expensive and are below recognised broadband speeds. Nevertheless, substantial improvement can be expected from the recent landing of the first international fibre optic submarine cable in the country, though this still required considerable investment in domestic fixed-line infrastructure.

In the mobile sector, competition has led to some of the lowest call prices in Africa despite the lack of basic infrastructure in the country which has resulted in an expensive operating environment. The harmonisation of the disorderly licensing and spectrum allocation regime inherited from previous governments has proven difficult. However, market penetration has reached a par with other markets in the region in recent years.

An attempt to privatise the dysfunctional fixed network operator, the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (now Libtelco) failed in 2005. Since then, efforts to resuscitate the previously neglected incumbent have continued. A wireless 3G system based on CDMA EV-DO technology enabled the company to enter the mobile market as a fifth player and to provide wireless broadband services. There are also plans for a national fibre backbone network. These assets would create an attractive opportunity to a strategic investor in a likely renewed privatisation in the near future.

The market is ineffectively monitored by the telecom regulator, which lacks the resources, technical expertise and documentation to enforce its orders. As a result, a number of operators are able to avoid paying dues to the government, and operate despite the regulator’s rulings that they must cease operating in the market.

Key developments:

  • Regulator migrates to Universal Licence regime;
  • Orange Group agrees to acquire Cellcom Liberia;
  • Underfunded telecoms regulator failing to monitor sector effectively;
  • Regulator to receive portion of operator revenue under new payment regime;
  • Government and regulator impose SIM card registration in a bid to reduce crime;
  • Libtelco Board dismissed pending judicial review;
  • Libtelco launches first phase of its fibre network in tie-up to the ACE cable system;
  • Novafone launches HSPA+ mobile services;
  • Report update includes telcos’ operating data, recent market developments.

Estimated market penetration rates in Liberia’s telecoms sector – end-2015

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
78%
Internet
5.0%
Fixed
0.3%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC, Libtelco), MTN Liberia (LoneStar), Cellcom, Comium (Novafone), LiberCell, Globacom, West Africa Telecom (WAT).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Overview of Liberia’s telecom market
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Background
    • 4.2 Liberia Telecommunications Act of 2007
    • 4.3 Regulatory authority
      • 4.3.1 Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)
    • 4.4 New ICT Policy and ICT Bill
    • 4.5 International gateways
    • 4.6 Future regulatory direction
    • 4.7 Universal Access Program (UAP)
    • 4.8 Universal licence
  • 5. Fixed-line operators
    • 5.1 Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
      • 5.1.1 Privatisation
      • 5.1.2 National telecom network
      • 5.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
      • 5.1.4 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x
    • 5.2 West Africa Telecom (WAT)
  • 6. International infrastructure
    • 6.1 Satellite
    • 6.2 Submarine fibre
      • 6.2.1 ACE
      • 6.2.2 Glo-1
      • 6.2.3 WACS
  • 7. Broadband market
    • 7.1 Overview
    • 7.2 Statistics
      • 7.2.1 Subscribers
      • 7.2.2 Internet subscriber statistics
    • 7.3 ISP market
      • 7.3.1 Atlantic Wireless (LiberCell)
      • 7.3.2 icom.net (Comium, Novafone)
      • 7.3.3 Cellcom
      • 7.3.4 WAT
    • 7.4 Internet banking
    • 7.5 Broadband infrastructure
      • 7.5.1 EV-DO
      • 7.5.2 WiMAX
  • 8. Mobile communications
    • 8.1 Overview
      • 8.1.1 Mobile technologies to track disease
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 Subscribers
      • 8.2.2 Mobile broadband
    • 8.3 Regulatory issues
      • 8.3.1 Licence reform
      • 8.3.2 Additional licences
      • 8.3.3 The Comium-Liberia Act
      • 8.3.4 GSM spectrum reallocation
      • 8.3.5 Interconnection
      • 8.3.6 SIM card registration
    • 8.4 Major mobile operators
      • 8.4.1 MTN Liberia (LoneStar)
      • 8.4.2 Cellcom
      • 8.4.3 Novafone GSM (Comium)
      • 8.4.4 LiberCell
    • 8.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 8.5.1 GPRS and EDGE
      • 8.5.2 Third generation (3G)
    • 8.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.6.1 Agricultural Market Information and Linkage System (AMILS)
  • 9. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Liberia – 2013
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2014 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2014 (e)
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2014 (e)
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 6 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 8 – International bandwidth – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 11 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 12 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2014
  • Table 15 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU and market share – 2003 - 2015
  • Table 16 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia revenue – 2013 - 2015
  • Table 17 – SMS traffic – 2008 - 2014
  • Chart 1 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2005 – 2015
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2001 - 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Liberia
  • Exhibit 2 – West African common regulatory framework

Focus Report profile

Single-User PDF Licence: US$440.00EX GST
Member Discounts Apply
Purchase
License Information

Your Cart

Your Cart is empty

Purchase with Confidence

"Paul was that fast, he outpaced with his message the entire Dutch (financial) press as well as international news agencies like DowJones. BuddeComm, your Australian news source that informs faster than that other Australian NewsCorp ;-)"

Hendrik Rood, Senior consultant, Stratix Consulting

» More from our customers..

Special Offers

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in
BuddeComm's Consulting Services ?

Quick Search

e-Newsletter

The latest networked economy and telecoms news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's free weekly Networked Economy e-Newsletter.

Contact us

Email     pbc@budde.com.au

Copyright © 2016 Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective holders. Design by Arcaeda | Hosted by Ipera