Envisionwhere there was no regulator to monitor operations of GSM companies across Liberia. Imagine if everyone was allowed to operate within their own scope, introduce services or policies without inquiry from any quarter. What would have happened to the various users of telecommunications products? Subscribers of the mobile phones, the landlines, the internet, and many other services would have probably run their businesses at the dictates of service providers.
But there is an institution with the statutory duty to safeguard all players within the telecommunications sector of Liberia. The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), which came into being few years ago is now fully in charge with the sacred responsibility to bring about standardization. Its structure is quite unique in grappling with the challenges since there will always be occurrences of unanticipated acrimonies between or among operators of telecommunications companies, hence requiring an arbitrator.
As Liberia struggles to grapple with the arising challenges from the growing technological improvement across the world, irrefutably the GSM sector in the country is the foremost challenging area that LTA must grow the muscle to standardize. One can safely refer to this area as a problem child the LTA has got to guide.
Since the sector was liberalized few years ago, additional companies took advantage of the situation to invest. As a consequent of this development the LTA understandably now faces huge challenges in its strides towards creating fair competition.
But note worthily however, the current rising frequency at which competition has heightened among various GSM operating companies in the country is quite promising. One can therefore now safely declare that the country is bound to spring in rapid fashion provided all remain in line with the precepts as laid down by the Regulator.
But what really is the role of the Regulator…One could go on naming series of responsibilities that LTA has got to ensure fair competition among various GSM companies. Don’t get me wrong. There are dozens of other service providers within the telecommunications sector but I have deliberately decided to place emphasis on the GSM sector since I have earlier branded same as the problematic child.
For instance, the LTA is charged with the authority to institute and maintain appropriate measures for the purpose of preventing service providers from engaging in or continuing anti-competitive practices, including the identification of telecommunications markets, determining dominance and abuse of dominance in identified telecommunications markets and responding to anti-competitive agreements. Besides, the LTA is also clothed with the authority to formulate mechanisms that would develop an animated telecommunications sector.
This is just a negligible percentage of the enormous tasks the Regulator has towards ensuring equilibrium and fairness among the various competing GSM companies in Liberia. Only those who are ignorant will therefore attempt to undermine the country regulatory arm of Government responsible to safeguard the operations of telecommunications companies across the country, vis-à-vis the consuming populace. It therefore becomes imperative upon the Regulator to strengthen its awareness campaigns through variety of channels in reaching out to everyone.
The LTA is always available for telecommunications consumers and the public at large to seek inquiry about its scope of operations, believing that such is a perfect channel through which all will gradually come to understand it values and importance in transforming the growing sector of telecommunications into a more viable component of the country’s revival exercise.
Such is a crucial period, especially wherein 90% of consumers; particularly mobile phone users do not know their rights. The LTA is fully aware of this trend and mechanism is in place to ensure increased awareness among the consuming populace across the country. The LTA consumer bureau is fully active in carrying out its mandate, which primarily seeks to educate and inform subscribers on how to make informed decisions about telecommunications products and services.