Cameroonian telcos in hot water over SIM card registration

Cameroonian telcos in hot water over SIM card registration

Regulator claims some cards have been activated with no proof of identity.

MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroun and Viettel Cameroun (Nexttel) have been fined FCFA1-billion, FCFA1.5-billion and FCFA1-billion respectively for failing to respect subscriber identification regulations, according to Cameroon's Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB).

Director General of the TRB Philemon Zoo Zame said the operators failed to respect regulations relating to subscriber identification, with some SIM cards being activated without any proof of identity.

Zoo Zame said the Board carried out "many control exercises" before arriving at its decision.

None of operators have thus far reacted to the sanction.

The regulator has also issued formal notices to the operators, with specific attention to what it describes as "the persistent poor-quality services they offer".

The telcos have been given one month to adjust.

Several years ago TRB said irregular subscriber identification and SIM box fraud cost the country over FCFA18-billion annually, and that unscrupulous individuals were using mobile SIM cards to commit crime.

According to the regulator's investigations, some people registered up to 200 SIM cards with one National Identity Card.

A prime ministerial order (2015) stipulates that no individual should be allowed to own more than three SIM cards per telephone operator.

The order, passed in a bid to combat fraud, also prohibits retailers of mobile telephony services i from selling to- and processing subscribers on the streets.

In June 2019 TRB rejected the technical offering and pricing conditions for access and sharing of network infrastructures submitted by MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroun and IHS.

The regulator stated that the tariff plans did not respect its proposals on reducing interconnection tariffs and call costs.