Respect Engagements in Mobile Telephone!

Though belatedly, Cameroon’s electronic communications, notably mobile telephone with associated services, is evolving. From the hitherto inferior 2G Google System for mobile communication, the two pioneer operators, MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun have now been served the 3G4G Google System for Mobile Communication, GSM licences.

This brings to three the number of mobile telephone operators who now have the modern telephone system in the country given that Nexttel had been operating the 3G system for some months now. This may sound tasteless given that Cameroon is still embracing 3G technology today when neigbouring countries are already into 4G. But the mishaps Cameroonians witnessed with the 2G characterized by persistent network disturbances during which calls and sms were hard to go through, makes the new contract to attract a smile, at least for now.

Government is certainly praising herself for opening a new chapter with MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun for another 15 years of expected improvement in service delivery. Meanwhile, the two operators should be beating their chests for not only succeeding to convince government in the deal, but more importantly, the wide business boulevard the new licence has opened for win-win investments in the sector.

What however interests the over 16 million mobile telephone subscribers in the country is the quality of service and what they pay for such services. They obviously want to path company with disgustful feedbacks like, “the number you’re trying to call is not available for the moment, try it again later,” “the telephone number you’re calling is incorrect,” “the subscriber you are trying to reach is off,” “message not sent, or failure delivery, try again,” or “safe to drafts.” Situations where a message sent gets to the recipient days after, too late to meet the objective would not be the best of moments to be remembered by customers.

As good as evolving in the sector is, with an increased number of operators that engender competition, it is even better when the population targeted by the evolution feels the change. This requires respecting engagements taken during the negotiation and for which the different parties publicly signed last week. Like before, the operators will ensure that those who want to make calls, send messages, download information, images and sounds do so without much stress. The 2010 law on telecommunications in the country spells out clearly the rights and obligations of operators and what each would harvest as sanctions if the legal instrument is flouted. Meanwhile, the State, as it is her right, will strive to ensure that the operators have the fundamental infrastructure to operate. Service quality is said to be directly linked to the network, meaning once the network is saturated, the quality of service is affected given that everybody is struggling to go through the limited pathway. Government needs to do something since the existing network was put in place in the yesteryears when the country had barely eight million subscribers. Today, the number is over 16 million.

For the parties to fully respect the engagements so that the fruit of the evolution could trickle down to the population there would be absolute need for the regulator, Telecommunications Regulatory Board, to leave its comfort zone. By virtue of Law No. 2010013 of 21 December 2010 governing electronic communications in the country, consumers of products and services of electronic communications have the right to adequate information concerning the conditions for service provision, the rates and other related charges and the right to non-discrimination regarding access and conditions to use the services. The regulator would need to ensure that these rights are not tampered with in the business ventures of the operators, who like other businesses, would want to minimise cost and maximise profits.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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