Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Liberia’s international gateway system under scrutiny
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 mobile operators compete for customers – LoneStar (majority owned by MTN), Comium (Novafone), Cellcom and LiberCell.
Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs as well as the mobile operators. The high cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that internet access is expensive and data rates are very low. Although additional bandwidth is available from an international submarine cable, considerable investment is still needed in domestic fixed-line infrastructure before end-users can make full use of the cable.
In the mobile sector, competition has resulted in relatively low call prices despite the lack of basic infrastructure in the country. The harmonisation of a disorderly licensing and spectrum allocation regime has caused some difficulties, and market penetration remains low compared to other countries in the region.
The privatisation of the neglected incumbent telco Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (Libtelco) failed in 2005 though efforts to resuscitate the company have continued.
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.
Global Voice Group (GVG) delivers International Gateway Management System;
Google takes steps to improve internet availability in Liberia;
Orange Group rebrands Cellcom Liberia as Orange Liberia;
Orange Liberia expands the reach of its LTE network;
Orange Liberia extends LTE outside Monrovia;
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 launches first phase of its fibre network in tie-up to the ACE cable system;
Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC, Libtelco), MTN Liberia (LoneStar), Cellcom, Comium (Novafone), LiberCell, Globacom, West Africa Telecom (WAT).
In 2009 Paul contacted me and we engaged in the brainstorming sessions that led to the development of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Paul is a visionary with a keen strategic approach. He is a powerful communicator, provides succinct analyses and has a complete knowledge of all the key information and communications technologies relating to broadband.
Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2006-2014