Cameroon – Telecoms: PM partially dismisses dispute between Minpostel and ART on licensing telecom companies

On 6 April 2017, Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Philemon Yang (photo), signed a decree setting out “arrangements for the establishment or operation of networks and the provision of electronic communications services subject to authorization“. Once again, it is reiterated that the operating licenses are issued by the Minister responsible for telecommunications, on a proposal from the regulatory agency.

This government text is in favor of the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, who, since a media release on October 21, 2016, denounced the Agency for the Regulation of Telecommunications (ART), which since 2010 has Illegally granted the issuance of “transitional titles” to telecoms companies subject to the licensing regime.

In a statement issued in January 2017, the owner of Telecoms gave until February 14 to operators holding “transitional titles” issued by the ART, to comply with the law at the risk of losing their right to exercise on the Cameroonian territory.

According to our sources, 22 operators were concerned by the warning of Minister Libom Li Likeng, including Créolink, Ringo Sarl, Northwave Sarl (Vodafone), Global Solutions Technologies, CFAO Technologies, Digitel Sarl, Tech, Avilyos, TNT Africa, Afrikanet Online, Matrix Telecom, Easynet SA, Seme Telecom, Sphere 3i, HTT Telecom, etc.

More than a month after the expiry of the deadline set for these operators by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications (14 February 2017), the decree signed on 6 April by the Prime Minister gives a new period of 6 months so that these companies can comply with the regulations in force.

Unfortunately, as has been the case since the 2010 reform, the new government text remains silent on the amount of the royalty to be paid to the state by telecoms operators subject to the licensing regime. It was in this breach that ART was engulfed, since the introduction in 2010 of this fee to recovery methods and amount hitherto unknown, to begin to issue “transitional titles” to operators, contempt Regulations.

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