Friday, September 10, 2021

Internet & Communications in Liberia

AfricaLiberiaInternet & Communications in Liberia

With the advent of numerous mobile phone businesses, such as Lonestar/MTN Cell (the country’s biggest mobile carrier), Cellcom, Comium, Libercell previously AWI (Atlantic Wireless Inc), and the government-owned Libtelco, Liberia has taken a major jump into the technical or digital age. Mobile phones are the most common method of communication with the outside world, with some (Lonestar and Cellcom) also providing GPRS/internet modem access. So, whether you’re visiting or staying, you’ll need a GSM phone. A GSM SIM card (1USD1) and prepaid recharge cards (most frequently in quantities of USD1 and USD5), known locally as “Scratch Cards,” are required. The sole exception is Libtelco, which requires monthly payments. Offices are the only places where landlines are utilized. Libtelco is similarly controlled and owned by the government.

The most popular method of accessing the internet is via GPRS/HSPA+ or through restaurants, pubs, bars, and hotels that provide clients with free or low-cost internet access. Internet connectivity has greatly increased with the construction of the underwater fiber-optic cable in November 2012. Mobile companies provide GPRS/HSPA USB adapters for $50-60, with data rates ranging from USD1/hr or $0.12/MB to USD125/mo for unlimited data and speeds up to 21MBps (1-2MBps is practical on HSPA+).

Postal Services

Liberia is served by DHL. The Expedited Mail Service guarantees delivery to the United States in five days. On MacDonald Street, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has an EMS counter.

The normal post office has just recently opened. The post office is located near the Waterside Market at the extreme end of Randall Street. Post cards will cost 30 Liberian dollars to mail and are likely to reach their intended recipients. The packages are packaged on-site.

To receive mail, go to the Randall Street post office and obtain a secured box with a P.O. Box number. Sending anything of value via the Liberian postal service is not a good idea. Several individuals have reported having their belongings taken when visiting the post office; Liberia’s postal system is young and very corrupt.