Madam Caroline M. Caranda, a former deputy information minister, could not believe it when she was phoned on Monday, March 5, 2012 by Lonestar Cell MTN’s Corporate Communication Executive, Dr. Lawrence Bropleh, that she has won the company’s ‘Txt N Win’ X-mas promo grand prize of L$1,000,000.00 (one million Liberian dollars).  Madam Caranda, with phone number-0886557625-answered from the Royal Hotel on 14th Street, Sinkor after the number appeared on the computer screen during the last raffle draw of the three-month ‘Txt N Win’.

The Management of Lonestar Cell MTN immediately dispatched some staffs, who escorted the grand prize winner for the check presentation ceremony. Madam Caranda was met upon arrival at Lonestar Cell MTN Headquarters by dignitaries who graced the launch of the company’s new internet products, including Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) Chairperson, Angelique Weeks and others.

Lonestar Cell MTN Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Steven Fleming, could not waste time in presenting the symbolic check to the grand prize winner on behalf of the company. He lauded Madam Caranda for being a committed subscriber of the Lonestar Cell MTN, and assured her that the company will remain a true partner to Liberians.

For part, Madam Caranda thanked Lonestar Cell family for the transparent manner in which they conducted the ‘Txt N Win’ raffle draw, vowing to remain with Lonestar Cell MTN as long as the company exists. “Lonestar Cell has always demonstrated its leading roles in the telecommunication industry in Liberia,” she said. 

The Lonestar Cell MTN’s ‘Txt N Win’ raffle draw which was a part of the Company’s 4-in-1 Season promotion, has been changing the lives of subscribers who won in various categories including daily, weekly and monthly, with Madam Caranda being the lucky subscriber to win the grand prize. It still appeared as if it was a dream on Monday to Madam Caranda, because she could not state any plan for the money. “I have not planned anything for the money yet because it still looks like a dream to me,” she told journalists.

The grand raffle draw coincided with the launch of Lonestar Cell MTN’s new internet project, along with products aimed at enhancing internet services and making internet more accessible and affordable to Liberians. The internet products were launched under a project tagged “Internet for Liberia.” 

Speaking at the occasion, Lonestar Cell MTN’s Acting CEO Fleming said as the leader in Liberia’s converged telecommunication industry, the company, in collaboration with its partners, have decided to bring in devices to not only improve fast internet services, but also make then affordable to Liberians. “Being the leader in the converged telecommunications, we want to ensure accessibility, affordability and reliability. Therefore, want show yet another demonstration of our commitment in leading the way,” Fleming said.

The Lonestar Cell MTN’s Acting CEO, disclosed plans by the company to reduce tariff on browsing, and provide other value-added services to users and subscribers, adding that ‘we want to leap into the wider world.’ 

Also speaking, Lonestar Cell MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Clement Ofori Asante, said as leader in an industry that drives internet, management of the company deems it just right to show the way to the growth in internet penetration by helping to bring accessibility to more Liberians. 

“We led the way in bringing to Liberia the very first 3G internet service when we launched our iConnect service last year. We believe it’s time to take it to the next level by getting more Liberian’s on to the internet,” Asante maintained. 

The Lonestar Cell MTN CMO made reference to the launch in partnership with the world’s leading browser for fast internet experience a customized browser the Lonestar Cell MTN Opera Mini browser few weeks ago. The feedback from customers so far, according to him, is very encouraging. 

Asante said research has shown that there is a clear link between the number of people who use the internet in a country (internet penetration) and development, adding “We at Lonestar Cell MTN believe this is one of the ways to continue expressing our avowed commitment to the development of Liberia. More internet use means more efficiency!”

Detailing the launched project, Asante said it is aimed at getting devices into the hands of Liberians, getting Liberians to use the internet more, rewarding Liberians for using the internet, and ultimately, increasing the efficiency of Liberians through the use of internet in every field of endeavor. 

He named the EDGE plus promotion, by which customers will enjoy a 20% discount on daily, weekly and monthly bundles.

Asante however noted that for those chose not to buy bundles but pay per use, the company will be extending its happy hour to cover the internet, so that they (customers) will enjoy ½ price for internet use between 12:30am to 5am every day. 

For the iConnect, he explained that customers, most of whom are corporate customers, will be given you 50% off their package for this month. 

For the devices, Asante said: “We realize that all these great offers will not mean much to our customers if there is no device to use the internet on; that is why we have partnered with some device suppliers, notable amongst them, Samsung and Huawei to make devices available to our customers of various segments.” 

He named some of the devices as the world acclaimed solar powered laptop or net book which he said Liberians can also own and use the internet on courtesy of Samsung and Lonestar Cell MTN. 
“We have devices including laptops with modems, handsets / phones and tablets for every pocket,” he Asante disclosed. 

According to Asante, those who want a low cost handset to use for the internet, there is a handset at the price of only US$31; something he said anyone who buys one gets back 50% of all he or she spends on internet on the 1st day of the next month. 

He indicated that all other devices sold during this period come with great offers such as one month free internet service and that every laptop/netbook also comes with a free modem as part of the package. 

The occasion was also graced by some government officials including Posts & Telecommunications Minister, Dr. Frederick Norkeh, Information Minister, Lewis Brown, LTA Chairperson Angelique Weeks, Dr. Walter Wiles of the University of Liberia, form presidential candidate, Cllr. Marcus Jones, and other invited guests, among others.

In separate remarks, Norkeh, Brown and Weeks, praised Lonestar Cell MTN for demonstrating its leading roles in the telecommunication industry in Liberia. They described the introduction of the new internet enhancement products on the Liberian market as welcoming, noting that it will keep Liberia on par with other countries. They said technology has become the major driving force of the modern world, thus calling on other GSM operators to follow the example of Lonestar Cell MTN. 

They equally stressed the need for GSM operators to respect the rights of consumers if they must contribute to the poverty reduction strategy.