Cameroon’s telecommunications operators: MTN, Orange, CAMTEL and Viettel, have been fined 6 billion francs for offering poor services between 2022 and 2023.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency, known by its French acronym ART, announced the decision May 25, stating the financial penalties resulted from “repeated infringements” of their obligations to provide good quality services to users.
State-owned CAMTEL was not spared in the sanctions, although it is paying lesser than the three private-owned companies.
ART distributed the fines as follows: CAMTEL (800 million); MTN Cameroon (1.4 billion); Orange Cameroun (2.2 billion); and Viettel, also Nextel, (1.6 billion).
“These sanctions come as a result of repeated infringements observed while following up obligations contained in their respective specifications in terms of coverage and quality of electronic communications services,” wrote ART boss, Zoo Zame, in the release.
He said the financial penalties do not absolve the companies from administrative sanctions, one of which could be the reduction of concession time for the companies, or a revocation.
The sanctions come following nationwide outcry against poor services rendered by these companies, notably slow and fluctuating Internet flow, high cost of bundles, among other issues.
Following an online protest in April dubbed “operation flight mode”, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, summoned these telecom operators at a meeting after which it outlined a series of measures they must take.
Earlier this month, MTN and Orange pledged, in separate communiques, to upgrade their services, refund customers’ unused data bundles during network problems and invest more in their networks.
Network users say they have however seen little or no change in the Internet quality nearly one month after.