(Business in Cameroon) - Due to the reform applied to telecom subscribers’ identification process, MTN Cameroon was imposed a fine of $6.6 million (about CFA3.5 billion) in Q3 2017. This was disclosed by the firm’s parent company itself, the South African group MTN International, in an activity report released on September 30, 2017.
The fine, imposed by Cameroon’s telecommunication regulatory agency (ART), was also followed by a 1-year reduction of the 15-year license granted to MTN Cameroon in 2015.
One of the motives given for the fine is the infringement by MTN Cameroon of regulations overseeing telecommunication subscribers’ identification in the country. "As you have noticed, even the Cameroonian government did not wish to provide much details regarding the sanction. The only reaction provided concerning the decision is found in the group’s activity report”, an internal source at MTN Cameroon said. The network operator simply indicated that it was discussing the penalties with ART.
Let’s recall that on September 3, 2015, Philémon Yang, the Cameroonian prime minister, signed a decree which clarified and reinforced mobile network subscribers’ identification procedures. This is in a context where the country records many terrorist attacks during which Boko Haram’s bombers used cellphones as detonators.
As a result of the decree, network operators were required to initiate a new identification campaign and deactivate all non-registered sim cards by June 30, 2016. They were also required to update subscribers’ details every time their IDs expired or deactivate the sim card if the subscribers fail to be up-to-date.
Would it be possible that the fine is due to MTN not complying with all the measures imposed? Anyways, one may recall that just a few days after the deadline given to deactivate unregistered sim cards, MTN Cameroon had officially announced that it had deactivated more than 600,000 of these cards.
Actually, in its interim financial statements for Q1 2016, MTN International had mentioned that the identification process was one of the reasons for the contraction of MTN Cameroon’s revenues (-8.7%) over the period under review.
Brice R. Mbodiam