In a release issued yesterday, Lonestar/MTN said they have observed that “fraudsters hiding under the banner of Cellcom started sending text messages to our network claiming that they are the only company giving three day unlimited calls and SMS. This is not true.”
The mobile telecommunications company also alleged that Cellcom has gone to the extent of hacking into its subscriber base to promote their services.
The allegations have not gone uncontested as Cellcom Corporate Communications Strategist, Dr. Kimmie Weeks, termed the accusations as “baseless, unfounded and hilarious”.
Dr. Weeks said the allegation that Cellcom is sabotaging its networks to prevent it from providing 3 days free calls to its customers is “baseless, false, and intended to distract from Lonestar’s inability and unwillingness to provide cost saving promotions to its customers.”
In a rather mocking fashion, Dr. Weeks told The Capitol Times that Lonestar has a great trouble with the series of products and programs Cellcom has been offering to the Liberian people particularly the “3 Days Free calls and SMS” package that is wooing impoverished Liberians to the telecommunications giant (Cellcom GSM).
He said claim by Lonestar/MTN is a clear indication of that company’s frustration over the success of Cellcom’s 3 days free calls program. “All I can say is that Lonestar’s press release is the reaction of a spoilt and entitled big baby,” said weeks, “since we started this program which has saved Liberians thousands of dollars, Lonestar/MTN has been crying. They reported us to the House and Senate, they’ve gone to the LTA and done all of that to try to stop Cellcom from providing a beneficial service to the Liberian company.”
“The three days call promotion has been one of the disturbing issues for Lonestar Cell. They have complained to the National Legislature and the government of Liberia to compel Cellcom to put an end to it,” Dr. Weeks said.
Dr. Weeks indicated that Cellcom refused to fall prey to the chicanery because their operations in Liberia are solely intended to relieve Liberians of the stress incurred from Cellcom’s competitor so that mobile telecommunications users can save money while “Lonestar feel they should continue to exploit the Liberian people.”
He said they have observed that Lonestar has been infiltrating their system, and they have been sending messages to their subscribers as they also claimed.
“Lonestar has attempted to replicate our products but they have not been able to. They have complained us to the National legislature and government to compel us to stop the program. We have refused to simply do that,” the Cellcom Communications Chief.
He noted that Lonestar Cell/MTN will have to answer questions why they have been trying to infiltrate their (Cellcom) system and sending messages to their subscribers.
Dr. Weeks said contrary to the press release issued by Lonestar/MTN, Cellcom is not jamming their network, stressing, “the only thing we are doing is that Cellcom is providing quality and good products for Liberians regardless of their economic status. The three days free calls’ impact can be attested to by ordinary Liberians”.
As evidence of the text messages sent to Cellcom subscribers, Dr. Weeks said he would release or show to journalists the messages sent by Lonestar by tomorrow.
In recent times there have been series of claims and counter claims from Lonestar cell users that the company has for the past times been ripping them off credit disappointingly. Some of these subscribers have taken to the airwaves of radio stations and newspaper pages to red flag their experience.
“I bought US$5 recharge card just yesterday, March 22, 2016 and less than 24hrs with three calls that lasted for 5, 7 and 8 minutes respectively. I was shocked when the next call could not go through because my credits had run out,” Annie Sambullah, a business woman told The Capitol Times in a rather mournful tone.
There are several subscribers experiencing such alleged thievery from the mobile telecommunications company with even worst circumstances and scenario.
According to some of the subscribers, their credits usually vanish without any trace. “This is scaring. I don’t even want to recharge now,” James Sulunteh said.
The Communications and Media Relations Officer of Lonestar Cell/MTN, in reaction to the claims of call fraud said, “what we encourage our many subscribers to do is to come to Lonestar office. Lonestar is really troubled by these complaints. So we want people to come and file a complaint. Whoever is not satisfied should pursue it further. We are not involved in theft. We have a team in place that investigates such cases. In cases where our machines are found to be in error, we will refund.”
Some subscribers said they would write a formal communication to the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) to intervene in the matter.