The reform of the procedures for identifying mobile subscribers in Cameroon has just made a significant victim. According to the September 30, 2017 report of the South African telecom group MTN International, its subsidiary in Cameroon was fined $ 6.6 million (about CFAF 3.5 billion) 3rd quarter 2017.
The pecuniary fine imposed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) is accompanied, says the same source, with a reduction of one year on the license of 15 years granted to MTN Cameroon by the government in March 2015.
Among other reasons cited by the regulator, the leader of the mobile phone market in Cameroon is accused of failing to comply with the regulations in force, in terms of identification of mobile subscribers. “As you must have noticed, even the government did not wish to communicate about this sanction. The only reaction we can have about this decision is that contained in the report of activities of the group, “says an internal source at MTN Cameroon. As a comment, the MTN group simply indicates that the TRA and the operator are currently in talks about this sanction.
As a reminder, the Cameroonian Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, signed on September 3, 2015, a decree that clarifies and strengthens the procedures for identifying subscribers to the mobile phone in the country, in a context marked by terrorist attacks, during when mobile phones were used as detonators by Boko Haram suicide bombers.
In favor of the publication of this decree, the operators were forced to initiate a new mobile subscriber identification campaign, with the obligation to deactivate all unidentified SIM cards as of June 30, 2016. They later had to update these identifications with subscribers’ identity documents expiry dates, and to deactivate their SIMs if necessary.
Is it the non-respect of this battery of measures which made MTN Cameroon today to be sanctioned by the TRA? In any case, we remember that a few days after the deadline set by the authorities for operators to disable unidentified SIMs, MTN Cameroon had officially announced to have deactivated, initially, more than 600 000 SIM cards.
In the interim financial statements of the MTN International Group, in the first quarter of 2016, the process of identifying subscribers was cited as one of the reasons for the 8.7% drop in overall revenues of the Cameroon subsidiary, during the first quarter of 2016. the period under review.