Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Cellcom Liberia rebranded as Orange Liberia

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 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 and 3G technologies. The high cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that most service offerings remain expensive and are below recognised broadband speeds. Nevertheless, substantial improvement have resulted from the landing of the first international fibre optic submarine cable in the country, though this still requires considerable investment in domestic fixed-line infrastructure for end-users to gain full benefit from the cable.

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 remains low compared to other markets in the region.

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 revises MTR model through to 2020;
  • Orange Group rebrands Cellcom Liberia as Orange Liberia;
  • Orange Liberia expands the reach of its LTE network;
  • Government paying salaries using mobile money services;
  • Parties bid to acquire Novafone;
  • 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;
  • Novafone launches HSPA+ mobile services;
  • Report update includes telcos’ operating data, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Liberia’s telecoms sector – 2016 (e)

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 0.2%
Fixed broadband 0.2%
Mobile SIM (population) 84.8%

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
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historical overview
    • 5.2 Liberia Telecommunications Act of 2007
    • 5.3 Regulatory authority
    • 5.4 ICT Policy and ICT Act
    • 5.5 Privatisation
    • 5.6 International gateways
    • 5.7 Future regulatory direction
    • 5.8 Universal Access Program (UAP)
    • 5.9 Universal licence
  • 6. Fixed-line operators
    • 6.1 Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
      • 6.1.1 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x
    • 6.2 West Africa Telecom (WAT)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Satellite
      • 7.2.2 Submarine fibre
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 Broadband statistics
    • 8.3 Internet banking
    • 8.4 Broadband technologies
      • 8.4.1 Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
      • 8.4.2 EV-DO
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 General statistics
    • 9.3 Mobile data
      • 9.3.1 SMS
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband
    • 9.5 Regulatory issues
      • 9.5.1 Licence reform
      • 9.5.2 Additional licences
      • 9.5.3 The Comium-Liberia Act
      • 9.5.4 GSM spectrum reallocation
      • 9.5.5 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 9.5.6 SIM card registration
    • 9.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.6.1 Digital networks
      • 9.6.2 Other infrastructure developments
    • 9.7 Major mobile operators
      • 9.7.1 MTN Liberia (LoneStar)
      • 9.7.2 Orange Liberia (Cellcom)
      • 9.7.3 Novafone GSM (Comium)
      • 9.7.4 LiberCell
    • 9.8 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.8.1 Agricultural Market Information and Linkage System (AMILS)
      • 9.8.2 m-health
      • 9.8.3 m-money
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Liberia – 2015
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 6 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 8 – International bandwidth – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 11 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 12 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia – 2001 - 2017
  • Table 14 – SMS traffic – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 15 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 16 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU and market share – 2003 - 2016
  • Table 17 – LoneStar/MTN Liberia revenue – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Cellcom mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Novafone mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2016
  • Chart 1 – Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia – 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia – 2001 - 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Liberia

Related Reports

Purchase this Report

US$750.00

Licence Information

Share this Report

Purchase with Confidence

for this – it’s been a real pleasure dealing with you – great service!

Jo Chaffer, British Council

Special Offers

Germany - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
US$575.00 until 4 Oct 2017
(normal price US$1,150.00)

Russia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
US$575.00 until 4 Oct 2017
(normal price US$1,150.00)

Sample Reports

A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue.


Download a Sample Report

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

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.