(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon’s ministry of post and telecommunication reveals that between 1999 and 2015 (the period of their first concession agreement), Orange and MTN Cameroon have paid CFA35.1 billion representing the payment for the use of frequencies attributed by the government. This amount is the addition of the CFA200 million flat rate paid by each of those operators yearly (both the telecommunication regulator and the operators having deemed the 2002 government’s decision on that fee unusable, inefficient and uneconomic).
In 2015, after tough negotiations, the two operators paid the remaining amount (CFA9.8 billion for MTN Cameroon and CFA11.3 billion for Orange Cameroon).
According to government’s estimates, thanks to the new concession agreements signed in March 2015 and modified between April and May 2018, the three operators in the market actually will pay more than CFA86 billion to Cameroon (taking into account a 2% increase of their turnover yearly).
So, thanks to these new agreements with the two leaders of the Cameroonian telecommunication sector, Cameroon doubled the amount the operators have to pay in the public treasury. According to sources close to the case, to reach such agreement, the ministry had to convince the operators to allow the fees for frequencies use to be calculated according to the yearly turnover.
According to the ministry of telecommunication, the amount the operators will pay could increase since, in the agreement, the 1% tax could be modified according to the real spectrum of the frequencies.
Indeed, to avoid the scenario of operators voluntarily reducing their turnover to avoid paying high fees, the parties agreed to conduct independent studies to determine the real spectrum on the basis of which the fees would be calculated.
A telecommunication expert reveals that it is indispensable to elaborate a platform to monitor the operators’ traffic and preserve government’s interest as far as the fees are concerned. “With this platform, the government will know the real traffic used by the operators. It will no more rely on the values declared by those operators”, he explained. He further declared that this platform would help increase the government’s revenues.
Brice R. Mbodiam