State of Internet Access and Network Providers in Cameroon

The progress of internet access and Network Providers in Cameroon has been slow over the years and is worrying.
The Cameroonian economy suffers from some factors that usually plague underdeveloped countries. These factors include stagnant per capita income, a top-heavy civil service, relatively inequitable distribution of income, and endemic corruption.
Also, the inefficiency of its extensive parastatal system in essential sectors and the unfavorable climate for business enterprises are contributing factors.

Since 1990, the Cameroon government has embarked on various IMF and World Bank programs designed to increase or spur business investment, increase efficiency in agriculture, recapitalize the nation's banks and improve trade...

ICT Sector in Cameroon

The Internet penetration rate was at 20% in 2017. The ICT sector in Cameroon contributes a mere 3.5% of GDP, which is low for the region. Mobile broadband based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) was established at the end of 2015, and this has been the primary catalyst for a rapidly developing mobile broadband sector.

The national infrastructure includes cable, tropospheric scatter, and microwave radio relay.

Cameroon's Telecom Market

Cameroon has, for many years, been one of the few nations in Africa with only two competing mobile operators, MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon.

After some delays, Nexttel Cameroon launched a third network in late 2014. Nexttel introduced the country's first 3G network service. The operator has grown swiftly, signing up more than five million subscribers and claiming a 20% network market share. 

Competition in 3G was insured in early 2015 when both Orange and MTN launched similar services. The investment programs among operators over the next few years will significantly increase mobile broadband services, especially in rural areas of the country, many of which are somewhat deprived of fixed-line infrastructure. Fixed-line penetration in the country is shallow, and the privatization of Camtel's fixed-line business has failed several times. 

Given these conditions, fixed-line services are relatively insignificant regarding internet connectivity. The telecommunications regulator in Cameroon is Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications.

It should be noted that the government shut down internet services in 2016 across all Anglophone regions for many months. This caused a national and international outcry and numerous economic losses.

Cameroon's Business Environment

Cameroon's diversified economy includes oil and gas, timber, agriculture, mining, aluminum, and service sectors. Oil remains Cameroon's major export commodity, and despite falling global oil prices, it still accounts for nearly 40% of exports.

The IMF continues to push for economic reforms, including increased budget transparency, V, and privatization. 

The Government of Cameroon provides food, electricity, and fuel subsidies that have weighed on the federal budget. Also, diverted funds from education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects, as low oil prices have led to lower revenues.

Cameroon prioritizes significant resources for several large infrastructure projects, including a deep seaport in Kribi and the publicized Lom Pangar Hydropower Project. 

It should be noted that Cameroon's energy sector continues to diversify, recently opening a natural gas-powered electricity generating plant. Furthermore, Cameroon continues to look for foreign investment to improve its inadequate infrastructure, create jobs, and improve its economic footprint. Nevertheless, its unfavorable business environment remains a significant deterrent to foreign investors.

Classification of Local Network Providers in Cameroon

  • Fixed PSTN (local, national and international): 2
  • Cellular mobile: 5
  • MVNOs: 3
  • Licensed cable operators: 0
  • Cisco Certified Partners: 41

Camtel Cameroon: The Incumbent Operator

Camtel is among the leading national telecommunications and Internet service providers in Cameroon. The company takes it upon itself to build its network, including access to CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) networks and optical fiber along the highway between Douala and Yaoundé and between Kribi and Lolodorf digitization of the country's telephone exchanges.  

It should be noted that Yoomee also roams on its network.

Recently, Camtel announced they have acquired a GSM license to become a mobile operator in Cameroon. This means another mobile operator will join the likes of Mtn, Orange, and Nexttel.
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