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Cameroonians protest over poor mobile networks

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 25 Apr 2023
Cameroonians have been experiencing prolonged network disruptions.
Cameroonians have been experiencing prolonged network disruptions.

Thousands of Cameroonians yesterday protested against mobile networks operators MTN and Orange over quality of service.

Subscribers across the country switched their devices to “Flight Mode” between 12pm and 2pm local time to express their disapproval of the network services rendered by MTN and Orange.

The aggrieved subscribers claim they have raised their concerns since last year, as they have been experiencing prolonged network disruptions, which affects calls and internet connectivity.

In most instances, some subscribers tell ITWeb Africa, the “connection is slow, shaky, or unavailable.”

In addition, Cameroonians are opposing the high cost of connectivity in the country and also claim their call, SMS and internet bundles are often deducted arbitrarily by the mobile operators.

Amplifying the situation is the view held by some that the regulator is not doing enough to monitor the telcos.

Fabrice Lena, Secretary General of the opposition Popular Action Party, took part in the “Flight Mode” two-hour protest.

He told ITWeb Africa that the operators must improve service delivery to reflect the amounts charged.

“I am disturbed by the continuous poor service delivery, high cost of calls, internet, and mobile money transactions. I am a victim as I have lost important stuff due to poor network quality;” he said.

The campaign also gathered steam online, before and after the “Flight Mode”, with the hashtag #ModeAvion237. Hundreds of users took to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration.

Delor Magellan Kamseu Kamgaing, President of the Cameroon Consumers’ League, said it was unacceptable for the situation to be allowed to persist for so long. “The consumer must be king,” he said.

None of the operators reacted to Tuesday’s brief protests nor responded to an ITWeb Africa request for comments.

But earlier this year, the Cameroon Association of Mobile Telephony Operators (CATMO) grouping Camtel, MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroun and Nexttel (Viettel Cameroun), said it was committed to improve the quality of service. It said each MNO had shared clear plans, investment and timelines of remedial actions with the regulator.

Besides agreeing on greater network infrastructure sharing in a bid to resolve the national connectivity hurdles, CATMO announced a joint investment of 156 billion francs CFA to enhance infrastructure development.

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