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Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

The Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

Executive summary

Six years into peace, following more than a decade of civil war which destroyed much of its infrastructure, Liberia became a prime example of an almost entirely wireless telecommunications market. Four GSM mobile operators are competing for customers - LoneStar (majority owned by South Africa’s MTN), Comium, Cellcom and LiberCell.

Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs and the mobile networks using GPRS, EDGE and WiMAX technology. The high cost and limited bandwidth of existing satellite connections means that most service offerings today are expensive and below broadband speed. Improvements can be expected from the arrival of international fibre optic submarine cables to the country’s shores for the first time in 2010/11.

In the mobile sector, competition has led to some of the lowest call prices in Africa despite the expensive operating environment due to the lack of basic infrastructure in the country. However, the harmonisation of the disorderly licensing and spectrum allocation regime inherited from previous governments is proving difficult. Market penetration is still below the African average but growing faster than in most other countries in the region.

An attempt at privatising the dysfunctional fixed network operator, the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC, now Libtelco) failed in 2005. Since then, efforts to resuscitate the previously neglected incumbent have continued successfully with a wireless 3G system based on CDMA EV-DO technology enabling it to enter the mobile market as a fifth player and to provide wireless broadband services. There are also plans for a national fibre backbone network. These assets would create an attractive opportunity to a strategic investor in a likely renewed privatisation in the near future.

Key highlights:

2010 estimates for mobile and Internet market;
Profiles of major players in all market sectors;
Libtelco EV-DO launch, national fibre plans;
Privatisation of Libtelco expected;
Additional operating licences expected;
Cellcom IPO;
International fibre optic submarine cables to arrive in 2010/11;
Broadband pricing trends 2009;
Update on mobile licence and spectrum reform conflict.WAT wireless Internet pricing - 2010
Speed (Kb/s) unlimited 3 months6 months1 year
(Source: BuddeComm based on
Note: 7% GST not included.
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Liberia’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Regulatory environment and structural reform;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
Internet and broadband development and pricing;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecommunications sector in Liberia, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

A telecommunications market almost entirely based on wireless technologies;
One of the fastest growing mobile markets in the region;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Telecoms operators - privatisation, acquisitions, IPOs, new licences;
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Broadband and mobile data services and pricing trends;
Mobile Average Revenue per User (ARPU).

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Liberia’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Regulatory background
4.2 West African common regulatory framework 2005
4.3 Liberia Telecommunications Act of 2007
4.4 Regulatory authority
4.4.1 Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)
4.5 New ICT Policy and ICT Bill 2009
4.6 Future regulatory direction
5. Fixed-line operators in Liberia
5.1 Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
5.1.1 Privatisation
5.1.2 National telecom network
5.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
5.1.4 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x
5.2 West Africa Telecom (WAT)
6. International infrastructure
6.1 Overview
6.2 New submarine fibre optic cables
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 ISP market
7.2.1 Atlantic Wireless (LiberCell)
7.2.2 (Comium)
7.2.3 Cellcom
7.2.4 WAT
7.3 Internet banking
8. Broadband market
8.1 Overview
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Overview of Liberia’s mobile market
9.1.1 Mobile statistics
9.2 Regulatory issues
9.2.1 Licence reform
9.2.2 The Comium-Liberia Act
9.2.3 GSM spectrum reallocation
9.2.4 Interconnection
9.3 Major mobile operators
9.3.1 MTN Liberia (LoneStar)
9.3.2 Cellcom
9.3.3 Comium
9.3.4 LiberCell
9.4 Additional licences
9.5 Mobile data services
9.6 Mobile content and applications
9.6.1 Agricultural Market Information and Linkage System (AMILS)
10. Related reports
List of tables and Exhibits
Table 1 - Country statistics Liberia - 2010
Table 2 - Fixed-line network statistics - 2009
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2009
Table 4 - Mobile statistics - 2009
Table 5 - National telecommunications authority
Table 6 - Fixed-lines in service and teledensity - 1999 - 2009
Table 7 - Internet users and penetration rate - 1999 - 2010
Table 8 - wireless Internet pricing - January 2010
Table 9 - WAT wireless Internet pricing - January 2010
Table 10 - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate - 2001 - 2010
Table 11 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
Table 12 - LoneStar/MTN Liberia subscribers and market share - 2003 - 2009
Table 13 - MTN Liberia (LoneStar) ARPU - 2003 - 2009
Exhibit 1 - Map of Liberia
Exhibit 2 - West African common regulatory framework
Exhibit 3 - New international submarine fibre optic cables in West Africa - 2009 - 2011

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