Liberia: Lonestar GSM fined $500,000 following 4-hour network outage

By Peterking Quaye, Monrovia,Liberia – The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) says that it has imposed a fine of U$500,000 on Lonestar GSM to be paid within a week, for negligence and omission on the part of the Lonestar management in not preventing the outage that occurred on its network on November 7, 2011.

The LTA has also ordered Lonestar to give all its subscribers throughout Liberia a free four-hour call time on a day to be determined by the LTA, as compensation to all its subscribers for the inconvenience they experienced during the four-hour network outage.

Making the disclosure, the Commissioner for Public and Consumer Affairs, Lamini Waritay, explained that the explanation provided by Lonestar on the circumstances surrounding outage did not agree with the findings of the investigation committee set up by the LTA Board of Commissioners on the incident.

The Lonestar network outage occurred at a critical security moment in Monrovia when a politically motivated riot was underway in the city.

According to the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) website Commissioner of Engineering, Henry W. Benson and including another Commissioner, Abdullah Kamara and some technical staff, has been painstakingly gathering relevant technical and related information on the November 7 outage from Lonestar, and carrying out technical and expert analyses on information so obtained.

Commissioner Waritay expressed the hope that this action against Lonestar will send an unmistakable message not only to Lonestar, but other network operators, that their licensing terms and conditions require them to at all time provide proper services to their subscribers, by having in place the appropriate technical mechanism to prevent such an occurrence as that which happened on November 7 on Lonestar’s network.

Earlier, the Board of Commissioners, under the Acting Chairmanship of Commissioner Harry T. Yuan, had met with representatives of Lonestar’s management to acquaint them with the LTA decision.

The full report on the outage incident has been sent to Lonestar.