MTN Cameroon has staged a summit in Yaounde in a bid to fast-track the fight against SIM box fraud. This summit, under the patronage of the Prime Minister Philemon Yang, and presided over by the Minster of Posts and Telecommunications, Mrs. Minette Libom Likeng, was organised in partnership with Muna Foundation.
Mrs. Philisiwe Sibiya, CEO of MTN Cameroon, expressed the hope that the summit would be the first concrete step in the proactive management of “this socio-economic ill which is robbing this vibrant Nation of economic growth and security.”
She said in 2013, telecoms operators had lost close to 15% of interconnect terminating revenues due to SIM box fraud. “Last year in Cameroon, close to 60 million minutes of international call traffic were diverted by fraudsters operating SIM tool boxes, technically known as SIM box. In 2015, this illicit activity will represent a loss of 18 billion francs CFA for local telecoms operators and more than 4 billion francs CFA in State revenues.
The SIM box phenomenon is not a problem exclusive to Cameroon. Other African countries are facing the same issue and busy finding solutions to this global problem. In 2014, the Ghanaian government announced losses of around 40 million dollars every year through the activities of bypassing the Approved International Gateway. Sonatel, in Senegal lost at least 10 billion francs CFA to SIMBOX fraudsters in 2014. In neighboring Congo, the government successfully dismantled a network of SIM box operators in 2013 that were causing the country losses of up to 30 billion USD per year.”
SIM box or GSM gateway is a type of box equipped with SIM cards connected to high speed internet, which fraudulently transforms international calls to appear as local calls. For the user who receives a bypass call in this manner, the conversation is often of poor quality with a lot of interference and disruptions. The dialled number that displays on the phone screen is often a local number instead of an international number. Moreover, the correspondent cannot receive call-back.