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Yaoundé - 03 July 2020 -
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Cameroon: the government wishes to control USSD code pricing by telecoms operators from now on

Cameroon: the government wishes to control USSD code pricing by telecoms operators from now on
  • Comments   -   Tuesday, 25 July 2017 06:18

(Business in Cameroon) - Like the pricing of telephone communication and other SMS, telephone companies operating in Cameroon will henceforth have to submit to the regulator, for validation, pricing for access to USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes, which are defined as being "commands in real-time to the network". This is the case, for example, of the code #150# of mobile operator Orange, which gives access to the Orange Money service, or also *126# to access the money transfer service via mobile on MTN Cameroon.

"I have the honour to inform you that I have asked the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Agence de régulation des télécommunications - ART), to take measures to make concession operators include in their interconnection list from now on, USSD access code offers, which have become these days an essential telecommunications infrastructure serving the development of the digital economy", writes the Minister of Post and Telecommunications (Minpostel) Libom Li Likeng, in a correspondence dated 10 July 2017 and addressed to the MD of Express Union Finances.

This microfinance company, had, some days earlier, lodged a complaint with this member of government accusing the operators MTN and Orange Cameroon of "anticompetitive practices", through an upward adjustment increasing the pricing of the code *050# giving access to the service Express Union Mobile Money, and through an outright elimination to access of the USSD code for Express Union Finance, which allowed clients on its books, to transact operations on their account from a mobile telephone. Accusations flatly rejected by the two mobile operators who, together, claim not to be in partnership with Express Union on the USSD code quarrel.

Incidentally, in making the mobile operators include access to USSD code services in their interconnection pricing, that experts define as "technical and interconnection pricing services that operators publish annually, so that other operators  (notably operators of value added services, Editor's note) can establish their own commercial and pricing services"; it clearly appears that we are moving towards some sort of approval of access to USSD codes in Cameroon. Since, an internal source at the telecoms regulatory organ points out, "ART can reject the prices proposed by the operators, if it finds them unfair".

BRM

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