Cameroon: lack of business plan delays CAMTEL Mobile launch

Differences between the government through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the General Directorate of Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL) are delaying the start of the activities of the fourth mobile operator in the country.

After the postponement to December 21, 2020 for « notorious regulatory inadequacies in the implementation of the mobile network », the launch of CAMTEL Mobile’s activities scheduled for January 13, 2021 will not take place, essentially for the same reasons. And for good reason, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in its capacity as technical supervisor, considers that all the conditions are not met to proceed with the launch of the mobile segment, fearing a « failed operation ».

“You have planned the launch of the mobile network for December 21, 2020, without a business plan. During a meeting that I chaired in the presence of the regulator on December 16, 2020 in this context, this launch was postponed due to the notorious regulatory inadequacies in the implementation of the mobile network. In a letter received on January 7, 2021, you invite me to chair the launch of the mobile for January 13, 2021, without reporting on the lifting of the reservations made during the meeting of December 16, 2020. All this not only helps not to ensure a successful entry of the incumbent into the mobile telephony segment (however long awaited), but also to reassure the players in the sector about the neutrality, transparency, non-discrimination and objectivity of Camtel to manage the de facto monopoly segments (fixed, transport) ”, indicated the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Minette Libom Li likeng in a correspondence addressed on January 11, 2021 to the general manager of CAMTEL Judith Achidi Achu.

When on March 4, 2020, the government to CAMTEL, in particular three concessions to operate mobile networks, operate fixed electronic communications, and operate an electronic communications transport network, these are accompanied by a notebook charges that the state enterprise must fulfill before deploying its activities. According to the minister’s note, CAMTEL is far from complying. Hence the current status quo.

This means that we will still have to wait to see the deployment of the fourth mobile telephone operator in Cameroon, a sector until then controlled by foreign firms in this case, the French multinationals ORANGE, South African Mobile telpehon network ( MTN) and Vietnamese Viettel through its local subsidiary NEXTTEL.

The telecommunications market led by mobile telephony generates an average turnover of 574.4 billion CFA francs, or 875 million euros. According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART) more than 20 million Cameroonians subscribe to mobile phones, while CAMTEL controls the exclusivity of mobile phones and fiber optics.

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