Cameroon: Telecoms regulator prepares to suspend Vodafone Cameroon’s activities for lack of license

Cameroon: Telecoms regulator prepares to suspend Vodafone Cameroon’s activities for lack of license

Accused of illegally practicing Cameroonian territory since the launch of its activities in 2016, the case of Internet service provider (ISP) Vodafone Cameroon is complicated more with the Cameroonian authorities.

According to authoritative sources, Minette Libom Li Likeng, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (Minpostel), has just directed the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART) to withdraw the operating license issued to Northwave Sarl, which allowed Afrimax Group to absorb this Cameroonian company to create the FAI Vodafone Cameroon.

In order to justify this decision to suspend the activities of this operator shortly, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications invokes the law governing the establishment and / or operation of networks and supplies of electronic communication services authorization system in Cameroon, which stipulates that the titles of exploitation are personal, non-transferable and do not confer any right of exclusivity.

Consequently, it is argued in this ministerial department that Northwave Sarl, which has been absorbed by Afrimax Group, can not make its operating title available to the new entity Vodafone Cameroon.

For Libom Minister Li Likeng, who has had discussions with Vodafone Cameroon officials in recent months, this ISP has to apply for a license in good form in its services and pay a to provide the 4G LTE to the populations. And as to show its determination to go to the end of its logic, Minpostel has just braked the announced deployment of Vodafone in eight other cities Cameroon.

To do this, it is learned from good sources, this member of the government summoned the public telecommunications operator, Camtel, not to apply the convention of sharing of networks between the two parties, that Vodafone affirms to have actually signed with his partner, but that government sources are still at the level of simple negotiations. The application of this ministerial injunction is, according to our sources, the main consequence of the disturbances observed on the Vodafone network between Friday and Saturday last.

As soon as the so-called “Vodafone affair” was triggered in October 2016, many observers saw in it operations by mobile operators operating in Cameroon, who see this operator as a ” unfair competitor having paid no entry fee (CFAF 75 billion for each of the two leaders in the mobile market), and able to operate only in the two main cities of the country (which account for 80% of the market of telecommunications in Cameroon), without being subject to the obligation of national coverage as concessionary operators.

Above all, it can be observed that this approach by Minpostel is part of the government’s determination to take full advantage of the dynamism currently observed in the telecommunications and ICT sector in Cameroon, especially during this period of declining revenues.

After the imposition of a 2% tax on telephone calls and internet services in 2016, the circular letter of the Head of State of 20 June 2017 on the preparation of the 2018 budget clearly stipulates an ” optimal taxation ” of the ecosystem of the digital economy.

Source: Agence Ecofin