Licensing of third mobile network finally underway
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Cameroon’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
- Key statistics;
- Market and industry overviews;
- The growth potential of the country’s mobile market;
- Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
- Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
- Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
- Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
- Infrastructure development;
- Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
- Internet and broadband development and growth;
- Mobile data services and pricing;
- Average revenue per user.
Cameroon’s economic growth has lagged behind other countries in the region which is mirrored by the development of its telecommunications sector. In early 2012 it is one of only a few countries in Africa left with only two competing mobile networks, MTN and Orange. The re-entry into the mobile market by fixed-line incumbent Camtel as the third player has been delayed by controversy regarding its licence. The licensing of a third mobile network finally made progress in early 2012 with several international players in the bidding.
The result of the restrictive market structure is a mobile market penetration rate that is below the African average and also below that of other countries with similar GDP per capita levels. Third generation (3G) mobile service has still not been introduced apart from Camtel’s EV-DO fixed-wireless service. Fixed-line penetration is extremely low, and the privatisation of Camtel’s fixed-line business has failed several times.
Mirroring a trend throughout developing markets, the average revenue per user in Cameroon’s mobile sector has fallen continuously as lower income groups gain access to services. The operators are trying to generate new revenue streams from the virtually untapped Internet and broadband market by introducing mobile data and WiMAX wireless broadband services.
Camtel has been allowed to monopolise access to the SAT-3/WASC international fibre optic submarine cable, which has led to extremely high prices and a grey market of unlicensed satellite gateway operators offering Internet access and Voice over Internet Protocol services. A major expansion program for international fibre connections and a national fibre backbone network is underway with funding from the Word Bank and China.
Under a more liberal regulatory regime, Cameroons telecommunications market could catch up very quickly with its peers in the region. The industry regulator has indicated it plans to complete the privatisation of Camtel and increase competition by licensing more operators.
- Licensing of third mobile network finally making progress;
- Two scenario forecasts for Cameroon’s mobile market for 2013 and 2016;
- Profiles of major players in all market sectors;
- Privatisation of Camtel planned in a public-private partnership;
- Competition in international fibre bandwidth expected in 2012;
- Significant improvements in national fibre backbone infrastructure;
- All major players have adopted WiMAX as broadband access technology.
Estimated market penetration rates in Cameroon’s telecoms sector – end 2012
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered in this report:
- MTN Cameroon;
- Orange CM;
- Cameroon Mobile Telecommunications (CMT);
- MTN Network Solutions;
- Matrix Telecoms;