(Business in Cameroon) - The internet market, which has become highly competitive in Cameroon in the past years with the increase in the number of access providers, welcomes a new heavyweight operator. This is Konnect Africa, the subsidiary of the French group Eutelsat specialised in the provision of internet via satellite, which officially announced the launch of its activities on 6 June in six African countries. These are Benin, Cameroon, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.
In Cameroon, Konnect Africa enters a market where landline and mobile operators (Orange, MTN, Camtel and Nextell) and the internet access providers such as Vodafone, Ringo, YooMe and other Creolink are practically treading on each other’s toes, and each offering enticing offers.
However, the subsidiary of the Eutelsat group enters the Cameroonian market with a comparative advantage: providing internet via satellite equipment, which gives this operator the possibility of covering remote areas in the country, in which the other operators, whose activities are focused on Cameroon’s major cities namely Yaoundé and Douala, are not particularly interested. Officially, the two (political and economic) capitals of Cameroon represent, on their own, 80% of the local telecom market.
Konnect Africa, who will deploy Wi-Fi access points and market “Pay as you go” offers, thus plans to take advantage of the dynamism observed in the Cameroonian internet market since the arrival of the 3G and 4G technology, respectively in March and December 2015. Indeed, only one year after these technological changes in the telecom sector, internet access in Cameroon increased by 16.5%, finally peaking at 18% at the end of 2016, based on statistics revealed by Internet Live Stats, who thereby ranked Cameroon among the three African countries (with Mali and Lesotho) who had the highest growth in terms of internet access in 2016. The June 2016 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report is even more appreciative of the progress made in internet access in Cameroon. Indeed, according to the Swedish telecom operator, the internet penetration rate in Cameroon was already at 25.6% in 2015, the year when 3G and 4G appeared on the market, surpassing even the average in sub-Saharan Africa, which was then of only 20% over the same period. Incidentally, despite its dynamism, the Cameroonian internet market remains open, which justifies the attraction on operators such as Konnect Africa. Indeed, according to Internet Live Stats, approximately 18 million Cameroonians still do not have access to internet, as the population of potential internet users in Cameroon was estimated at only 4.3 million people in 2016.
Brice R. Mbodiam