Cameroon telecom regulator slams MTN with $6.6m fine
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Cameroon telecom regulator slams MTN with $6.6m fine

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Sunday, December 3   2017 at  12:07

Cameroon has slapped a $6.6 million (FCFA3.6 billion) sanction on South Africa’s telecom giant MTN for failing to respect mobile phone identification procedures and the use of radio frequencies

Johannesburg-based MTN Group, in its market update, confirmed the fine imposed by Cameroon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART) on its central Africa state branch.

Besides the financial penalty, ART has also reduced to 14 MTN Cameroon’s 15 years operating licence granted in March 2015, according to local media reports.

In a statement on Saturday, MTN Cameroon said it had been notified of the ART sanction and “is in discussions with the regulator regarding the subject”.

The telecom enterprise said it would continue to educate its subscribers on the need to have their phone numbers identified to protect themselves and ensure full compliance with regulations governing the identification of subscribers.

As part of a counter-terrorism drive, the Cameroon government in September 2015, through a prime ministerial decree, obliged mobile telephony operators to identify or disconnect unidentified subscribers not later than June 30, 2016.

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The order also stipulated that no individual would be allowed to own more than three SIM cards from same mobile network operator. Those who needed an exception were to provide concrete justifications for the request.

MTN Cameroon CEO Philisiwe Sibiya said then that the firm was “leaving no stone unturned” to fully comply with the subscriber identification regulations.

“In addition to Service Centres, special identification mega-centres, hotspots, mobile caravans and contact points at the level of partners, MTN Cameroon employees, equipped with specific mobile equipment, shall ply the streets of towns and villages to identify subscribers,” she said.

But it is believed the telco company, which prides itself as market leader in the country with roughly 10 million subscribers, failed to or delayed disconnection of thousands of subscribers who operated unregistered sim-cards within that period.

MTN was slapped with $1.7 billion fine by Nigeria last year for failing to disconnect unidentified sim-cards in that country.