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LTA, Orange Liberia Clash

-Over Impending Suspension Of ‘Three Days Free Call’

By R. Joyclyn Wea

The Civil Law Court has summoned the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) over threats against Orange Liberia.

The Court mandate is predicated upon a complaint of Judicial Review by Orange GSM Company against the Liberia Telecommunication Authority for alleged threat against the company

According to the Company, LTA is imposing surcharges and price floors on services in the sector which is unfair.

The Court further ordered LTA to file it’s answere to the complaint on or before April 25, 2019, to show caused why the court should not grant the request made by Orange Liberia.

Failure on the part of LTA to adhere to the court’s mandate, a default judgement will be brought down against the Authority

Accordingly, Orange want the Court to immediately order LTA to suspend enforcement of its Order and actions against it pending determination of the matter.

“They emphasized that the Liberia Telecommunication Authority be ordered to scrap its command as if it never issued similar order before.”

Orange GSM wants the Court to rule against LTA , legally prohibited from unilaterally and abrogating the laws of Liberia touching on the subject that is exercise of power to impose surcharges and price floors on services in the sector.

Orange is a GSM Company in Liberia, established and operating under the laws of Liberia, authorized to engage in and provide full wireless internet services, cellular GSM, cell phone and other related telecommunications services to the people of all backgrounds.

Orange GSM Company as part of its telecommunications services, said it came into existence by buying out its predecessor, Cellcom Telecommunications Incorporated including all facilities and licenses issued to Cellcom by the Government of Liberia.

According to Orange, LTA in October 2018 initiated a stakeholder’s consultation process to which they (Orange) and others were invited for the purpose of evaluating LTA intention to implement floor prices and surcharges on net-voice calls and data.

Orange said while it still not agree to the implementation of floor prices on the services it provides and in discussion with LTA, the latter elected to place additional fee to its services by imposing surcharges for on-net minute and megabyte thereby exacerbating the problem affecting the consultation process and clearly without regard to the several reservations it has made in numerous letters.

It further claimed that the LTA issued out its regulation captioned LTA Order: 0016-02-25-19 “Establishing Price Floors for On Net Voice and Data Services and a Regulatory Fee on Telecommunications Goods and Services” which was dated February 25, 2019, and insisted that same shall take effect on April 15, 2019.

The action of the LTA being a public interest matter as it affects the common people of Liberia who also have extensive communication needs.

Orange said, after LTA had a meeting with the honorable House of Representatives through its Committee on Posts & Telecommunications; meanwhile, the Legislature instructed it (LTA) to “Provisionally cut off imposing additional surcharges on all local calls until the Committee and the Board of Commissioners (BoC) hold a consultative meeting.”

The complainant said LTA having taken affirmative actions to effect the Order now proceeding to hold them (Orange) as violators to their order and the laws of Liberia.

Meanwhile, both parties are expected to appear before the Civil Law Court this March Term of Court to convince the judge.

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