(Business in Cameroon) - Despite the tremendous rise in the number of users in the telephony market (from 150,000 to 12 million, Ed. note: it is over 19 million according to ART), Camtel is still unable to increase its market share, estimated to be below 3%. This was revealed in the report on public companies’ 2019 performance recently published by the Technical Commission for the Rehabilitation of Public and Para public Sector Enterprises (CTR).
According to this specialized agency of the Ministry of Finance, despite the monopoly it has held for years on the fixed telephony market, Camtel is still struggling to evolve in the sector.
A few years ago, the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART) had already pointed out that in 2018, Camtel’s fixed telephone subscribers had decreased by 39.43% compared to its level in 2017. However, the regulator did not provide the reasons for the figure mentioned in that year’s annual observatory of the electronic communications market.
Two things can explain this nonetheless. First, there is the breakthrough of mobile telephony (over 80% penetration rate). Secondly, Camtel’s service quality could also be the cause, and justifiably so, the CTR pointed it in its 2019 report.
A rise in net earnings
Camtel is nevertheless profitable. According to the CTR, this state-owned company posted XAF4.6 billion and XAF5.1 billion of net earnings for the 2017 and 2018 financial year respectively.
This is certainly due to the other services it offers thanks in particular to its monopoly on transport infrastructure (12,000 km of optical fiber, ADSL, four submarine cable landing points and two satellite network teleports).
Through its overall services, Camtel controls 18.43% of the global electronic communications market. But, it is behind Orange and MTN whose services, excluding the mobile money segment, are respectively 35.61 and 35.25% of the electronic communications market. On the other hand, the public telecommunications company is ahead of Nexttel (10.71%), which entered the market in 2014.
With the obtention, in March 2020, of three new licenses, Camtel should reposition itself on the telephony market in Cameroon. The three new agreements focus on the establishment and operation of two electronic communication networks and one electronic communication transport network. In early January 2021, the company was about to launch its mobile network but the plan was opposed by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications because of some regulatory shortcomings. Meanwhile, Judith Yah Sunday (Director General of Camtel) sees those claims of regulatory shortcomings as campaigns orchestrated by future competitors that are already well established in the market to sabotage the launch of Camtel’s mobile network.
Brice R. Mbodiam