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Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Liberian politicians reject proposal to tax free mobile calls

After 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 mobile operators compete for customers LoneStar (majority owned by South Africa's MTN), Comium (Novafone), Cellcom and LiberCell.

Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs as well as the mobile networks using GPRS, EDGE, HSPA and WiMAX and 3G technologies. The high cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that most service offerings remain expensive and are below recognised broadband speeds. Nevertheless, substantial improvement have resulted from the landing of the first international fibre optic submarine cable in the country, though this still requires considerable investment in domestic fixed-line infrastructure for end-users to gain full benefit from the cable.

In the mobile sector, competition has led to some of the lowest call prices in Africa despite the lack of basic infrastructure in the country which has resulted in an expensive operating environment. The harmonisation of the disorderly licensing and spectrum allocation regime inherited from previous governments has proven difficult. However, market penetration remains low compared to other markets in the region.

An attempt to privatise the dysfunctional fixed network operator, the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (now Libtelco), failed in 2005. Since then, efforts to resuscitate the previously neglected incumbent have continued. A wireless 3G system based on CDMA EV-DO technology enabled the company 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.0
The market is ineffectively monitored by the telecom regulator, which lacks the resources, technical expertise and documentation to enforce its orders. As a result, a number of operators are able to avoid paying dues to the government, and operate despite the regulator's rulings that they must cease operating in the market.

Key developments:

Regulator revises MTR model through to 2020;
Orange Group acquires Cellcom Liberia;
Cellcom Liberia launches the country's first LTE network;
Government paying salaries using mobile money services;
Parties bid to acquire Novafone;
Underfunded telecoms regulator failing to monitor sector effectively;
Regulator to receive portion of operator revenue under new payment regime;
Government and regulator impose SIM card registration in a bid to reduce crime;
Libtelco launches first phase of its fibre network in tie-up to the ACE cable system;
Novafone launches HSPA+ mobile services;
Report update includes telcos' operating data, recent market developments.
Market penetration rates in Liberia's telecoms sector 2016 (e)
Penetration of telecoms services: | Penetration
Fixed-line telephony | 0.2%
Fixed broadband | 0.2%
Mobile SIM (population) | 84.8%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC, Libtelco), MTN Liberia (LoneStar), Cellcom, Comium (Novafone), LiberCell, Globacom, West Africa Telecom (WAT).

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Historical overview
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Liberia Telecommunications Act of 2007
5.2 Regulatory authority
5.3 ICT Policy and ICT Act
5.4 Privatisation
5.5 International gateways
5.6 Future regulatory direction
5.7 Universal Access Program (UAP)
5.8 Universal licence
6. Fixed-line operators
6.1 Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
6.1.1 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x
6.2 West Africa Telecom (WAT)
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Satellite
7.2.2 Submarine fibre
8. Fixed-line broadband market
8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
8.2 Broadband statistics
8.3 Internet banking
8.4 Broadband technologies
8.4.1 Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
8.4.2 EV-DO
9. Mobile market
9.1 Market analysis
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.2.1 General statistics
9.3 Mobile data
9.3.1 SMS
9.4 Mobile broadband
9.5 Regulatory issues
9.5.1 Licence reform
9.5.2 Additional licences
9.5.3 The Comium-Liberia Act
9.5.4 GSM spectrum reallocation
9.5.5 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
9.5.6 SIM card registration
9.6 Mobile infrastructure
9.6.1 Digital networks
9.6.2 Other infrastructure developments
9.7 Major mobile operators
9.7.1 MTN Liberia (LoneStar)
9.7.2 Cellcom
9.7.3 Novafone GSM (Comium)
9.7.4 LiberCell
9.8 Mobile content and applications
9.8.1 Agricultural Market Information and Linkage System (AMILS)
9.8.2 m-health
9.8.3 m-money
10. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Liberia 2015
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2016 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2016 (e)
Table 4 Mobile statistics 2016 (e)
Table 5 National telecommunications authority
Table 6 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia 1999 - 2009
Table 7 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia 2010 - 2017
Table 8 International bandwidth 2008 - 2015
Table 9 Fixed-line internet subscribers 2007 - 2017
Table 10 Fixed-line broadband subscribers 2008 - 2017
Table 11 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia 1999 - 2009
Table 12 Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia 2010 - 2017
Table 13 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia 2001 - 2017
Table 14 SMS traffic 2008 - 2016
Table 15 Active mobile broadband subscribers 2009 - 2017
Table 16 LoneStar/MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU and market share 2003 - 2016
Table 17 LoneStar/MTN Liberia revenue 2013 - 2016
Table 18 Cellcom mobile subscribers 2012 - 2016
Table 19 Novafone mobile subscribers 2012 - 2016
Chart 1 Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia 2005 2017
Chart 2 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Liberia 2001 - 2017
Exhibit 1 Map of Liberia

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