Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Liberia’s government extends m-payment platform for employees

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. There are two mobile operators – MTN Liberia, majority owned by MTN Group, and Orange Liberia, the local unit of Orange Group. Both have steadily invested in network infrastructure while MTN Liberia has been active in promoting its m-money services in a country where most people are un-banked. Competition between these operators has led to a reduction in pricing for voice and data services, and this prompted the regulator in late 2018 to suggest a tariff floor.

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.

The harmonisation of a disorderly mobile licensing and spectrum allocation regime has caused some difficulties, and market penetration remains low compared to other countries in the region. Penetration has also been affected by SIM card registration requirements imposed in recent years.

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 fees to the government and have continued to operate despite the regulator’s rulings that they must close down their services.

Key developments:

  • JamCell awarded Liberia’s third MNO licence;
  • Global Voice Group (GVG) delivers International Gateway Management System;
  • Google takes steps to improve internet availability in Liberia;
  • Orange Liberia expands the reach of its LTE network;
  • 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;
  • Government extends m-payment platform for employees;
  • MTN Liberia sets up m-money service;
  • Libtelco launches first phase of its fibre network in tie-up to the ACE cable system;
  • Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q4 2018, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, 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).

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
  • Regional Africa Market Comparison

    • TMI vs GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband
    • Fixed and mobile broadband
  • Regulatory environment

    • Historical overview
    • Liberia Telecommunications Act
    • Regulatory authority
    • ICT Policy and ICT Act
    • Privatisation
    • International gateways
    • Universal Access Program (UAP)
    • Universal licence
  • Fixed-line operators

    • Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
    • West Africa Telecom (WAT)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Satellite
      • Submarine fibre
  • Fixed broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
      • Broadband statistics
      • Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
    • Mobile data
      • SMS
    • Mobile broadband
    • Regulatory issues
      • Licence reform
      • GSM spectrum reallocation
      • Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • SIM card registration
      • Tariffs
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
    • Major mobile operators
      • MTN Liberia (LoneStar)
      • Orange Liberia (Cellcom)
      • Novafone GSM (Comium)
      • LiberCell
      • JamCell
    • Mobile content and applications
      • Agricultural Market Information and Linkage System (AMILS)
      • m-health
      • m-money
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Liberia – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 5 – International internet bandwidth – 2008 – 2016
  • Table 6 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 7 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Fixed broadband subscribers in Liberia – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia – 2001 – 2018
  • Table 10 – SMS traffic – 2008 – 2017
  • Table 11 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 12 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU and market share – 2003 – 2018
  • Table 13 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia revenue – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 14 – Cellcom mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 15 – Novafone mobile subscribers – 2013 – 2016

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 2 – West Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Africa – Middle-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Challengers) – 2018
  • Chart 4 – West Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 5 – West Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 6 – West Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 7 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia – 2001 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Liberia
  • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 3 – West Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country

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