Cameroon: A Decree to limit numbers of SIM per subscriber and prohibit sale of SIM cards on streets

(Business in Cameroon) – From now on, selling SIM cards on streets is prohibited in Cameroon. Mobile operators will thus have to set up retail outlets or make deals with partners who have certified spots to commercialize their SIM. This is one of the main terms included in the 3rd September 2015 decree signed by Cameroon’s Prime Minister and which reinforces and clarifies the procedures related to the identification of Mobile networks subscribers in the country.

In addition to forbidding sale of SIM cards on streets, Prime Minister Philémon Yang’s decree limits to three, the number of SIM cards each subscriber can have per network. Put clearly, with Cameroon soon to be having four Mobile network operators (Camtel’s license should be validated any moment from now), subscribers will not be able to own more than 12 SIM cards. “We found out from the database, that some people registered as many as 100 to 200 SIM cards with one National ID, a quite suspicious occurrence”, says Thomas Marcellin Manyanye, sub-director of the ART information system, Cameroon’s telecoms regulator.

The decree dated September 3, 2015, also includes some conditions for the identification of minors who wish to have SIM cards. According to the text, these minors will be allowed to get SIM cards, only if they can provide a parental authorization, which will be added to their identification file.

The decree from PM highlights that, in addition to a certified copy of National ID or resident permit, the subscriber must add localization map for his/her domicile, as well as his/her mobile phone’s IMEI.

With this new decree which abrogates the previous from 2012, the identification of mobile telephony subscribers, prescribed by the law regulating electronic communications in Cameroon, is being reinforced. A reinforcement which happens in the framework of the fight against Islamist group Boko Haram which has been using mobile phones in bomb attacks.

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