Inadequate rural coverage is often a problem in African markets but Liberia’s House of Representatives has now asked the country’s Post and Telecommunication Committee to launch an investigation into the issue – and the country’s two leading operators in particular.
The operators – Lonestar Cell MTN and Orange Liberia – are said to have been the targets of consumer complaints about poor services in rural areas of Liberia.
Among user issues cited in a speech by Representative Alexander Poure were dropped calls, text messages not being sent, poor voice call quality, inadequate mobile internet connectivity and what were described as ‘opaque’ service charges.
The Post and Telecommunication Committee aims to deliver its initial response on the operators within two weeks. It will also investigate the economic and social implications of the poor services on the rural population. In addition, the Committee has been asked to look into the problem of services being unavailable in some places.
This news is the more surprising given the announcement in late January that Lonestar Cell MTN, which is majority owned by South Africa’s MTN Group, had announced the commissioning of new sites in more than 55 remote towns and villages across Liberia.
In addition, it has been announced that state-owned fixed-line operator Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is working with Ghanaian tower company K-Net to provide cellular communications services in Parluken District #2, Grand Kru County, and that tower installation in the area has begun.
As we reported on 28 February the infrastructure will eventually be used by the two operators now facing investigation, Lonestar Cell-MTN and Orange Liberia.