Government has taken many bold steps recently but the situation on the ground definitely requires more action.
The population saw in the arrival of the 3G/4G technology an end to not-so-satisfactory call quality network. The technology that went operational in Cameroon in 2015 met with a lot of admiration and expectations. The hopes were however, gradually dashed by the operators who instead of upgrading customer services, plunged into warfare of who was the first to introduce the technology that is yet to positively impact users. Supporting Cameroon in its drive for emergency by decisively contributing to the New Digital World remains to be seen. Each of the country’s phone companies claims to be the innovative leader of telecommunications in Africa, though with little to show to earn customer loyalty. It is clear that one cannot conceive a customer-loyalty strategy without mentioning customer satisfaction even with extensive marketing tools. The consumer experience that hinges on variables like quality of service is yet to ring a bell in the minds of operators.
This is especially as the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libong Li Likeng, insists that call quality in Cameroon was not good enough to satisfy subscribers. The Minister says mobile telephone operators will henceforth explain why are where things are going wrong so that together they can find solutions. This explains the meeting she opened with stakeholders on August 11, 2016.
Government is increasing agreements and deploying optical fibre backbone to provide reliable support to operators, organizations, companies and individuals. More than 8,000 km of fibre now connects the country’s 10 regional chief towns, about 60 Divisional and Sub-divisional headquarters and like Chad. Government’s aim is to satisfy end-users by combating poor service quality and offering cheaper call billings. Meantime, government has also entered a deal with the African Development Bank to finance the Cameroon component of the Central Africa Backbone project that involves the laying of 916 km of optical fibre between Kumba-Mamfe (187 km), Mamfe-Ekok (82 km), Bertoua-Batouri-Kentzou (206 km), Sangmelima-Djoum-Mintoum-Ntam (331 km) and the Bamenda-Ndop-Kumbo (110 km), all covering the South West, East, South, and North West Regions respectively.
It is but clear that major operators are seemingly focusing on the growth in data (mobile money, mobile Internet) which is contributing significantly to their incomes despite the limited 3G coverage. Segmented offers which target the youths and high-value-consumers (who represent a minority in terms of number) who call through WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook, with serious impact on Voice call, is the twist facing the telecoms sector.