For Poor Service Quality, Coverage: Telecom Operators Slammed FCFA 6 Billion Fine

Telecommunications Regulatory Agency warns that the fine could be followed by administrative sanctions, including a reduction of licence duration or even licence withdrawal

The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART) has slammed a FCFA 6 billion fine against active telecom operators in Cameroon for repeated violations of the quality and coverage requirements contained in their operating agreements. 

The announcement was made on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Head of ART Philemon Zo'o Zame, warns that the fine could be followed by administrative sanctions, including a reduction of license duration or even license withdrawal.  

Orange Cameroon received the largest fine amounting to FCFA 2.2 billion. It is followed by Viettel with FCFA 1.6 billion fine, which operates under the brand name Nexttel. MTN Cameroon received a FCFA 1.4 billion fine against FCFA 800 million slammed on Camtel.

The sanctions come after a wave of indignation in the country, following the increasingly pronounced deterioration in the quality of telecom services.

In late April this year, 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, the Minister of Posts and Telecomunications, 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.

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