Telephones and Communication

The telecommunications sector in Cameroon, liberalized by the law of July 1998 allowed the entry of two private mobile operators alongside the incumbent fixed telephony.

This law also established the creation of a regulatory authority (the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency), to guarantee and ensure the regulation, control and monitoring of the activities of operators in this sector.

OVERVIEW

Management of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL). The opening of the telecommunications market has been entrusted in 1998 to the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) which regulates the market and grant licenses.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL) is responsible for the development and implementation of government policy on posts, telecommunications and information technology and communication.

In this regard:

  • It implement,he studies and ensures of the production of equipment and infrastructure related to the sectors of Posts and Telecommunications
  • It ensures the development of Information Technology and Communication (ICT) and electronic communications in any form in connection with the administrations concerned
  • It promotes investment in the sector in relation to the Ministry of Economy,Ministry of Planning and Regional Development and concerned agencies
  • It ensures the training and formation of the staff of his sector
  • It follows up the activities of mobile telecommunications companies
  • It follows the activities related to e-commerce and issues
  • cybersecurity and cybercrime in conjunction with the Administrations concerned
  • It develops, and maintains statistical analysis relating to the areas of Posts and Telecommunications and Information Technology and Communication (ICT)
  • It follows the activities of regulation agencies involved in its jurisdiction
  • It liaises between the Government and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It exercise supervision over:

  • The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA)
  • The National Agency for Information Technology and Communication (ANTIC)
  • Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL)
  • Cameroon Postal Services (CAMPOST)
  • It also performs the technical supervision of the National School of Posts and Telecommunications (ENSPT).

Telecommunication Regulatory Agency (TRA)

Presentation

 The Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART) was created by Law 98/014 of July 14, 2010 to regulate telecommunications in Cameroon.

TRA is an administrative public establishment with legal personality and financial autonomy whose organisation and functioning are specified in the provisions of decree 98/197 of September 8, 1998. TRA has its headquarters in Yaounde and three Regional Delegations in Yaounde, Douala and Garoua.

TRA mission is to ensure the regulation, control and monitoring of the activities of providers and operators of the telecommunications sector and also sees to the respect of equity in the treatment of users.

Liberalisation has brought about an unprecedented dynamics in this sector which turned to be a major lever of investment and economic growth in Cameroon. Since November 1999, TRA has been justifying its "raison d'être" and became the mainspring for the smooth development of this competitive and fast-evolving sector.

Indeed, with the expansion of mobile telephony, the number of subcribers went beyond two and a half million in 2005. The penetration rate reaching the 45% and the telephone penetration rate averaging the 11%.

Some of its achievements so far are:

  • The impementation of an homogeneous 7 digit numbering plan in 2001
  • The systematic approval of interconnection catalogues of mobile operators which favour the substancial drop of communication and services rates
  • Frequency bands planning and operational conditions, and the purchase of a mobile station for spectrum control
  • The publication of a gateway directory and the sensitisation of consumer
  • The unbiased and friendly settlement of disputes between operators

Actually, in its willingness to regulate, that is to facilitate the setting up of a competitive and attracting market, TRA takes all possible initiatives to seek out solutions to problems stemming from current economic and technological progress such as:

  • The eight-digit numbering plan
  • The mutualisation of infrastructure
  • The new interconnection regimes
  • The improvement of quality of service
  • The development of affordable Internet
  • The use of convergence to bridge the digital divide
  • Organising the universal service

Management of Cameroonian telecommunications is provided by company CAMTEL, established on 8 September 1998. It includes the Telecommunications Ministry of PTT, which had the direct responsibility of the national network, and the International Telecommunications Company of Cameroon (Intelcam) which was responsible for setting up and operating international routes, the management of the central telex network CAMPAC data transmission packets and the mobile telephone network, the GSM system.

The country has two international access in Yaounde and Douala, a fleet of 42 telephone exchanges, including 10 digital exchanges in Yaounde and Douala, Yaoundé central mobile earth stations and two standard A, with 540 channels for international communication satellite.

After three years of operation, the mobile operators have taken a significant lead over their competitors fixed, hampered by a long period of non-investment and unable to meet its demand.

The development of the Internet continues, with a tendency to lower access costs, however, remain high.

Meanwhile the spread of Wired (through SAT3) VSAT solution gaining in companies and institutions.

The great public access points are multiplied through cybercafes, which now offer IP telephony services.

Fixed Telephony

With infrastructure still inadequate management of fixed telecommunications network is provided by the state-owned Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel), established in September 1998 as part of the restructuring of the telecommunications sector.

CAMTEL, 14 years old of age, is the flagship of the liberalization of the sector of Information Technology and Communication (ICT) experienced during the second half of the 90s. Created by Presidential Decree No. 98/198 of 8 September 1998, CAMTEL took over the activities of the Society of International Telecommunications of Cameroon (Intelcam) and those of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of P & T (Post & Telecommunications), who were respectively responsible for operating and development of international telecommunications facilities, and the direct responsibility of national network.

Fixed telephony is then assigned to CAMTEL, state company being privatized. The provisional contractor designated end of 2000 the consortium Telecel (South Africa) for the mobile part (new license) and Korea Telecom for fixed part. For historical reasons, CAMTEL still has yet for 4-years monopoly of the telecommunications infrastructure in Cameroon.

Cameroon is connected to the international network via two satellite centers, respectively in Douala and Yaounde, each with a digital switch for international transit hub for VSAT systems.

A third access point has been established with securing the country in SAT-3 cable in 2002.

CAMTEL has a fleet of 42 telephone exchanges (including 15 fully digital in Douala, Yaounde and Southwest) and many local networks with a capacity of 160 000 telephone lines. A program of infrastructure modernization and expansion plans imminent scanning areas North, South and West.

CAMTEL’s subscribers number is estimated at 115 000 in February 2004 (0.7 lines/100 inhabants.) Charges an important technological gap.

CAMTEL is in a very precarious financial situation and particular needs to deal with a problem of over-indebtedness, including a passive "international traffic" with respect to its main foreign correspondent France Telecom. The fixed network is obsolete, expensive, covers only a part of the territory, it is more strong competition from mobile operators. The total installed capacity of the network is 134,600 fixed telephone lines and the number of subscribers is around 100,000. The fixed network serves 82 communities, including 48 in rural areas.

Investments have been frozen for nearly 10 years by the state, which relied on a rapid conclusion of the privatization process, which resulted in a stalemate and was suspended.

The government, with support from the World Bank, launched in early 2004 a call for expressions of interest for the recruitment of a consultant whose main task would be to define a new privatization strategy and advise the government in this process.

Parallel to this process, the French consortium comprising ICEA and Mazars has been selected to implement a business plan for the company. At the same time, CAMTEL received a provision of EUR 39 million to finance its strategic investment program launched in third quarter of 2003.

The challenge for the winning consortium will be the intensification and expansion of network capacity that is new and of good quality, but is still insufficient to meet national needs. The privatization of CAMTEL should be followed by equipment markets and installation work.

 

MOBILE TELEPHONY

Cameroon has a mobile network since 1998, with the creation of the incumbent CAMTEL Mobiles, a former subsidiary of CAMTEL. The company was privatized in stride.

The mobile telephony market is a growing market,two cellular networks are operational in Cameroon (Standard GSM 900)

MTN (Mobile Telephone Network)

The first, the incumbent CAMTEL Mobile, commissioned in 1998 in only three cities in the country with a capacity of 5 000 lines, was taken in January 2000 by the company Mobile Telephone Networks Cameroon (MTN Group subsidiary South Africa).

The leading mobile phones in Cameroon

MTN Cameroon is the leading company in the market for mobile telephony in Cameroon. She was born February 15 of 2000, from the acquisition by South Africa's MTN Group, of the CAMTEL Mobile license. Its capital of 200 million FCFA is 70% owned by MTN International and 30% by the Cameroonian society Broadband Telecom.

At 31 December 2008, MTN Cameroon had 3 574 000 active subscribers, or 62% market share.MTN ranks among the five most important Cameroonian companies in terms of sales, with a turnover of 182 FCFA billion at December 31 of 2008.

A safe and reliable network

MTN feels at home in Cameroon. It is to last.MTN has never hesitated to make large investments to build and contribute to sustainable development of Cameroon. Nearly 300 billion CFA francs have been invested by MTN since 2000 in building a network of high quality, safe and reliable, which includes 546 relay stations or BTS, by December 31, 2008.

The MTN network is present in 10 regions of Cameroon, covering nearly 84% of the country's population and ensure an uninterrupted service in all administrative units of more than 50 000 inhabitants.

An operator at the forefront of innovation

Company firmly at the forefront of technological innovation, MTN Cameroon offers its customers a range of communications solutions tailored to their needs.The reference products in the field of GSM, are available in pre-paid and post-paid packages.

Now also, MTN offers numerous Internet offers. MTN is the first that introduced in Cameroon, a fourth-generation network backed Wimax technology. This network, which already covers more than a dozen cities, allowing it to market its Internet services.

Regarding its tariff offer, MTN has clearly set its sights on flexibility and proximity. It has introduced among others in Cameroon, the system of quasi-free calls during off-peak hours, the offer ‘’ Y'ello Night'' for which only the first minute is charged.

A local distribution

To satisfy a growing number of subscribers, MTN Cameroon has 12 commercial branches in the main cities of Cameroon, and relies on a network of 100 distributors and strategic over 200 620 points of sale on the throughout the country. While two ultramodern call centers are completely dedicated to customer requests for more demanding customers .

Corporate citizen

Beyond its economic performance, MTN Cameroon is a company that cares. MTN launched in February 2006, the MTN Foundation, the first corporate foundation created in Cameroun.The MTN Foundation work for the well-being of communities, particularly in the areas of education, environment, health, community development, arts and culture.

Similarly, employees of MTN Cameroon are personally invested in achieving social work, through the internal charitable program called '' 21 Days of Y'ello Care.''

MTN Cameroon is also the partner of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) in the development of local football, with an ambitious program to build sports facilities, which should eventually provide each of the ten regions of Cameroon a football stadium with a natural grass lawn maintained and equipped with stands, locker rooms and an infirmary, among other facilities.

Important dates

  • February 15 of 2000 Signing of the agreement for licensing
  • October 2000 Launch of commercial operations
  • July 2001 MTN has more than 100 000 active subscribers
  • January 2002 Signing of the MTN / FECAFOOT agreement
  • April 2002 MTN has more than 250 000 active subscribers
  • August 2002 Implementation of the regionalization process. MTN Cameroon now has four regions (Coastal, North, West and Central)
  • November 2002 Launch of activities in eastern Cameroon (MTN now covers all 10 provinces of Cameroon)
  • October 2003 MTN passes the 500 000 subscribers
  • April 2004 Organization MTN / CAF Awards in Yaounde
  • June 2004 Introduction of the second billing (PSB)
  • September 2004 Launch of credit transfer (Me2U)
  • March 2005 MTN has 863 000 subscribers
  • April 2005 Change of signature: ‘’The Better Connection’’ is replaced by ‘’Everywhere You Go’’
  • June 2005 MTN has 954 000 subscribers
  • In August 2005 MTN 1 million subscribers
  • December 2005 MTN has 1 248 000 subscribers

Latest updates reveals that up to this date in 2013 MTN has over 7,5 million subscribers

 ORANGE (France Telecom Group)

Present in all five continents Orange Group is not a mobile operator among others. Moreover, it is a personality, a new way of looking at the market, a positive vision of communications that integrates the promotion of eigenvalues and shared belief in a brighter future.

Orange Cameroon (formerly Cameroon MobileSociety,SCM-Mobilis), a subsidiary of France Telecom, got his license cellular network in June 1999 and became operational in February 2000.

National Coverage

To meet customers requirement to be accessible anywhere, anytime, Orange Cameroon continues to expand its network. For this growing network, new sites are built and put into service, and new locations are connected every day.

Today, the 10 regions and more than 90% of Cameroon's population is covered.

This makes Orange Cameroon, the leader mobile phone network. We can through the network Orange Cameroon, where we are today and tomorrow, take advantage of the latest technological advances in the field of telecommunications.

Orange offers

Orange Cameroon provides its customers with a range of offerings tailored to their position, as they are mainstream or young.

They also have a range of scratchcards and pricing options that allow them to communicate their own pace.

Orange services

Orange Cameroon is a wide range of convenient services, tailored to customers needs, designed for your comfort and satisfaction.

The Orange commitment

By outstanding citizen actions, Orange Cameroon supports a growing number of areas of social life. Education and sports are leading examples.

Education

Orange is committed to promoting Cameroon to quality education through an innovative and hopeful concept "academic excellence."

  • Annual scholarships: It is in 2001 when Orange Cameroon awarded the best students, ranked for several years in the ranking of best general secondary schools.

Sport

  • Football: official sponsor of the Cameroon national team the ’’ Indomitable Lions’’, Orange Cameroon contributes through its partnership with the Cameroon Football Federation, for the development and improvement of the environment of the Cameroon football in general, and team flag in particular.
  • Holidays Football: Since 2003, Orange Cameroon is the official sponsor of an increasing number of holiday championships spread over several towns and villages. This support aims, among others, three objectives: facilitate the neighborhoods and villages, look young and healthy look to the future by developing talent. Today's big names including Samuel Eto'o Fils, Ambassador of the Orange brand, having gone through the Championships Rentals, Orange Cameroon has an optimistic view of the future, firmly believes that the champions of tomorrow are also emerge. That is why everything is done to provide substantial support for each championship.
  • Golf: Cameroon considers that all sports are equal and deserve from him, the same support, and the same promotion. For this, golf tournaments are regularly organized in Cameroon.
  • Basket-Ball: As partner of the Cameroon Basket-Ball Federation, competitions organized by the Federation are systematically Orange Cameroon footprinted

Latest updates reveals that since creation up to this date in 2013 Orange Cameroon has over 6,5 million subscribers

Both cellular networks had a remarkable development, promoted mainly by the malfunctioning of the fixed network. The number of mobile subscribers, estimated at nearly 1.4 million in the first quarter of 2004 has increased tenfold in four years, from 135 000 in 2000 to about 1.1 million in 2003, achieving a penetration rate of 6.6%.

The market is characterized by strong dominance of prepaid subscriptions (95% of subscribers) and is divided almost equally between the two operators, but with a slight advantage for Orange, which also dominates nearly 80% market companies first quarter of 2004. The major cities are covered (80% in urban areas), but significant investments are still to be done to complete coverage.

The international donors, as well as some local banks have expressed their support for the two operators for funding (more than EUR 150 million) for the extension of their networks.

Other projects are underway. The privatization of the public operator CAMTEL wired network, complicated by the success of mobile, provides grants to future purchaser of a third cellular license. However, given the importance of investment to set up to catch the first two operators, some observers believe that the entry of a third player would have a marginal influence on the market, if it does not have no need for the rapid deployment affordability.

SET MOBILE (Orange Cameroon MVNO)

SET Mobile is brand new in the sector of mobile telephony in Cameroon. It has been first announced as the third independent mobile operator, but finally it is standing as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) and uses the facilities of Orange Cameroon in partnership.

Informations on this MVNO operator are not yet available

VIETTEL MOBILE

Viettel Group (full name in Vietnamese: T?p ?oàn Vi?n thông Quân ??i) is Vietnam's largest mobile network operator. It is a state-owned enterprise wholly owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence

Despite the controversy surrounding this case, the President of the Republic signed on 7 June of 2013 a decree approving the concession agreement initialed by the State of Cameroon with the Vietnamese operator. The presidential act comes nearly seven months after the award of 3G by the Cameroonian government license on 14 December 2012 to Vietnamese group.

Viettel SARL Cameroon can now through this decree, start the installation work of the towers and all the logistics of appropriate telecommunications. Vietnamese technicians were already hard at work in recent months. The group plans to invest 200 billion CFA in Cameroon. From the start of its activities, Viettel Cameroon SA. provides maximum coverage of 81% of the territory of Cameroon.

Viettel Cameroon SARL is coming as a serious competitor to Orange and MTN already firmly installed, the beginning of its activities is planned for 2014.

INTERNET

Cost access to the internet are still expensive in Cameroon. The first connection of the country, was completed in 1997 through a node in Yaounde, with a capacity of 4 Mbits.

Two years later, a second node (4 Mbits) was commissioned in Douala.

The docking of the country to the submarine cable SAT-3 (Fall 2002) significantly improved connectivity to the Internet.

Thus, the ability of the Douala access node increased to 34 Mbps, 10 Mbps to strengthen that of the access points in Yaounde.

Cameroon is registered under the domain ‘’cm’’ managed by Camnet (Cameroon Network) www.camnet.cm- CAMTEL is the department in charge of the operational management of the connection to the international backbone and the provision of services at national.

Camnet is also the manager of the Local Internet Registry (LIR)

The supply of services is performed by a dozen Internet service providers (ISP’s) included Camnet, offering connections PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), cable (leased lines) and radio waves.

All operators apply the suscription policy, except one (Suptelecom), which launched a formula prepaid card that provides access to the Internet without subscription and without invoice.

IP telephony, although still regulated by the ART, has been gradually included in the list of ISP’s services to businesses and cafes.

Despite this diversity of supply, access costs are still expensive.

Indeed, the installation costs (fixed) and configuration for wireless connection totaled approximately EUR 2000, which must be added to the monthly rent expense of bandwidth (600 EUR for a 64 Kbps connection).

The liberalization of the telecommunications sector has simplified operating VSAT license acquisition procedures

Some ISP’s and operators established in favor of this law, now offer direct satellite links, in partnership with North American and European operators.

If the quality of service is greatly improved by this solution (more stable and faster connections), access rates remained high, but with a downward trend.

The acquisition cost of a VSAT is reduced from EUR 12 000 to 8 000 in average, with loads of rental bandwidth substantially equivalent to those of a radio connection.

Camnet since 2003 now offers connections via fiber optic (FO) from the landing point of the SAT-3 cable in Douala, and plans to establish a national fiber optic loop.

Tenders for this purpose were launched in 2004.

There are about 1 million users in Cameroon, and approximately 10 000 Internet subscribers.(N.B:These statistics are old,we don’t have yet recent survey on Internet users and Internet suscibers)

However, it should be noted that all the Internet users are difficult to quantify due to the use in cybercafes (more than 200 in the cities of Douala and Yaounde)

Taking advantage of the competition, the hourly cost of connection in cafes fell by more than 80%, from EUR 2 to 75 euro cents on average, in less than two years in urban centers.

Email is the most used service, but with the progressive introduction to the Internet, users are turning more and more to search for information and consultation of databases online.

The rise of the Internet in Cameroon is constrained by the failure of the wired network, which saturation limit access to landline.

In addition, the cost of access and purchase computer equipment for surfing the Internet are still high compared to the average income ($ 559 capita GDP in 2001)

Major ISP in Cameroon

  • MTN
  • ORANGE
  • YOOME
  • CREOLINK
  • CAMTEL
  • EQUACOMM
  • FORIS CAMEROON
  • VODACOM
  • RINGO

MTN and Orange

For Orange and MTN Cameroon, as they are mobile phone companies, their services operate through mobile Internet modems and USB (live box for Orange Cameroon), wireless access services (Hotspot for MTN CAMEROON). They are still "ISP intermediaries" because their internet connection is provided to them by CAMTEL. It is through these two suppliers that most Cameroonians have Internet access from their phones, the connection means very fashionable among young Cameroonians.

CAMTEL

CAMTEL (Cameroon Telecommunications) is an ISP reference in this country, with a range of services (connection to a landline, mobile phone, modem stick, modem). It further improves with the current installation in all the regions of Cameroon of fiber optics. CAMTEL stands as the essential ISP beceause it is the state company and now holds the exclusive deployment of optical fiber in Cameroon so he is the one providing internet connection to all others ISP’s operating in Cameroon

RINGO

Ringo is an ISP that allows subscribers to surf the web with their modem declined in two forms:

  • A small useful model for simple web activities (check up emails, information search,etc…)
  • A model for fast connections with more complex web of activities (reading videos, streaming movies, etc...)

CREOLINK

CREOLINK is an expert company specialized in provision of Internet services via fiber optics. Their expertise is based on the features demanded by large companies. They have also developed innovative solutions that meet the needs of SME’s and homes: Internet + telephone + TV

YOOMEE

YOOMEE is presented as the best ISP provider in Cameroon. It is 4G internet you can use to get online at home, on-the-go or in your company. They transmit 4G signals from towers all around the town so customers can have fast, dependable access to everything they love online. Whether they are on a couch, a park bench or virtually anywhere in-between. What makes YOOME different to others ISP is:

  • Speed (4G)
  • Mobility
  • Stability
  • Easy to use

VODACOM

VODACOM BUSINESS provides the widest range of connectivity service (INTERNET, VSAT, VPN, MPLS, and TVUPLINK), applications and specific telecommunication services.

EQUACOMM (Equatorial Communications)

Equatorial Communications (“Equacomm”) is a satellite and fiber based Service Provider (Internet – Data - Voice) with extensive experience supporting telecomm initiatives in Central Africa. Equacomm operates a network point of presence in Douala and Yaounde, and maintains corporate offices in Douala, Yaounde and Columbia, USA. Their goal is to contribute to the bridging of the digital divide.

FORIS CAMEROON

Foris Telecom group has developed an operational business model that seeks to deploy WiMAX broadband solutions at significantly lower costs to operators, individuals, and institutional users. Their results are got through a connectivity value chain that takes in to consideration accessibility, Connectivity, Skills and Content.

The Internet sector in Cameroon is rapidly developing and continues to grow ... fierce competition between ISP’s shows us that within a few years this sector will be at the forefront of technology and this will be profitable for everyone

COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE

Cameroon is one of three major Satellite organizations: Intelsat, Inmarsat and Rascom.

The role of local supplier of satellite access is played by CAMTEL, pending the appointment (at the end of a tender) to a local ISP to the space segment.