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Cameroon: Telcos push for relaxation of subscriber ID rules

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 14 Jul 2021

Telecommunication service providers in Cameroon have lobbied government to relax regulation governing the identification of subscribers.

Arguing that the rules are impacting operations and stifling financial inclusivity, General Manager of Orange Cameroun, Frédéric Debord, who also spearheads the Cameroon Association of Telephone Mobile Operators (CATMO), said users without valid identification documents should be allowed to enjoy some basic services such as mobile money deposit and withdrawal of limited amounts.

Debord said they have proposed that government implement a two-step identification system for people who do not possess the official national ID card.

The system suggested is based on primary identification via an alternative ID document to the official national ID card. However, when the subscriber eventually does secure a national ID card, a formal identification is processed to comply with the regulation.

In 2015, a prime ministerial order instituted rules around subscriber identification following reports from the Telecommunication Regulatory Board that irregular subscriber identification and SIM box fraud were costing the country over FCFA18-billion annually.

Debord said: “Nowadays, identification constraints are much more with the publication of new guidelines on the functioning of the payment incident management centre. Some of the data required by the centre is not contained in the national identity card.”

Cameroon’s mobile money usage rate is pegged at 24% of approximately 25.6 million people, and mobile phone penetration stands at over 90%.

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