Third mobile licence finally awarded, including 3G
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 third mobile licence was finally approved in June 2013. Vietnam’s Viettel will roll out the country’s first 3G network. Prior to this, Cameroon was 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 result of the restrictive market structure has been a mobile market penetration rate below the African average and also below that of other countries with similar GDP per capita levels. 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 developing new revenue streams from the virtually untapped Internet and broadband market by introducing mobile data and WiMAX wireless broadband services, as well as mobile banking services.
Until recently, Camtel was allowed to monopolise access to the SAT-3/WASC international fibre optic submarine cable, which has led to high prices and a grey market of unlicensed satellite gateway operators offering Internet access and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. This is set to change following the arrival of two new international cables in 2012. A major expansion program for a national fibre backbone network is underway with funding from the Word Bank and China.
Third mobile licence finally awarded, including 3G; Major tower outsourcing deals; New competition in international fibre bandwidth; 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 2013 Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 69% Fixed/fixed-wireless | 3.6% Internet | 6.6% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)