(Business in Cameroon) - In Cameroon, the mobile telephone subscribers’ identification operations are not being carried out in compliance with the required standards. This is the essence of a letter recently sent by Philémon Zo’o Zame, Director-General of telecom regulatory agency ART, to mobile operators active in the country.
"It has come to my notice that during the subscribers' identification operations, some operators do not collect the unique identification numbers of the ID cards [presented by susbscribers]," Philémon Zo’o Zame wrote. According to the official, the said identification number is the 17 digits at the back of ID cards, not the 9 digits, which is rather the ID serial number.
Sources within the telecommunications segment believe that with this notice, some operators will organize new subscribers’ identification campaigns to avoid the regulator’s wrath. Indeed, in Q1-2019, ART suspended 73,000 telephone numbers pertaining to unidentified subscribers lodged with MTN, Orange, and Nexttel.
Let’s note that according to Cameroonian laws, telephone subscribers must provide valid identity documents before accessing mobile operators' services. The regulatory provision was issued in a context marked by the increase in the attacks perpetrated by members of the terrorist sect Boko Haram who usually use cellphones to trigger explosives. In addition, with the security crisis in the northwest and southwest, kidnappers collect ransoms via mobile money services. The identification of mobile sim card users is one of the ways security agents can track those criminals. So, identifying mobile telephone subscribers has security implications.