(Business in Cameroon) - Telecom regulator ART announced, Thursday (May 25), a cumulative CFAF6 billion fine against operators active in Cameroon. According to ART head Philémon Zo'o Zame (photo), the fines were imposed due to repeated violations of the quality and coverage requirements contained in their operating agreements.
Orange Cameroon received the largest fine amounting to CFAF2.2 billion. It is followed by Viettel (CFAF1.6 billion fine), which operates under the brand name Nexttel. MTN Cameroon received a CFAF1.4 billion fine against CFAF800 million slammed on Camtel.
The ART also warns that the fine could be followed by administrative sanctions, including a reduction of license duration or even license withdrawal.
The sanctions come after a wave of indignation in the country, following the increasingly pronounced deterioration in the quality of telecoms services. In late April, a social media campaign was launched, calling for the operators to be boycotted. The campaign, dubbed “airplane mode”, was supported by distinguished individuals like singers Kareyce Fotso and Charlotte Dipanda, TV series director Ebenezer Kepombia, lawyer Claude Assira, ICT expert Rebecca Enonchong, and politicians such as Cabral Liibi. It was calling for users to switch on their airplane mode between 12 pm and 2 pm on April 24, 2023. Some of the campaign's supporters even suggested the operation should be repeated daily till operators address the situation.
Meanwhile, operators were blaming the deteriorating quality on the repeated fiber and power cuts in the country.
Faced with the mounting anger of telecom users, Telecom Minister Minette Libom Li Likeng called a crisis meeting between operators and the regulator. At the end of the meeting, on April 27, 2023, operators committed (as they usually do) to improving the quality of their services. But, one month on, nothing has changed for users who still have to contend with poor services.