Customer First!

Last Thursday, a group of stakeholders in the telephony sector meeting under the aegis of the Permanent Forum of the Actors of the Private and Public Sector on Telecommunications Issues were summoned by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications to carry out two important assignments in view of the fast degradation of telephone services in the country.

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One the one hand, they had to carry out a detailed diagnostics on the causes of degradation of electronic telephone services and on the other, make concrete proposals that can help government arrive at a definitive solution the  various problems observed in the delivery of electronic communications services. One must greet this timely initiative because, for a very long time, services offered by the various mobile telephony outfits, leave much to be desired.  At the very beginning, we use to hear of line overloading because of the insufficiency of line, so did we also regularly hear of prime time or moments when many users were supposed to be struggling to use the few available lines.

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Technology has changed over the years as, today, we hear of optical fibres expected to have increased access to mobile telephone services. Moreover, the various mobile telephone operators have been in an all out corporate war selling new generation technologies; to the extent that today we hear of 3G or 4G which, on paper are supposed to provide fast, reliable and wide-ranging services. But unfortunately, the Cameroonian user of these services is still at a loss.

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In countless cases, callers cannot reach their destinations and in the place of having a correspondent at the other end, they are rather served either with pre-recorded messages apologizing for the poor state of the network or sounds that simply indicate that the call could not get through. There has been a lot of mudslinging between the various actors; from the Ministry responsible for Telecommunications which has the over-all political role of ensuring good quality services to the service providers themselves and the regulator which is the Telecommunications Regulatory Board, responsible for ensuring conformity with regulations and engagements taken by the mobile companies within the framework of their licences.

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It certainly because of the urgent need to address this nagging problem that the Minister of Posts and telecommunications set up the permanent forum for discussion between these various actors as per a decision she signed on January 29, 2016. It is hoped that this new forum will not just be another one; hence the need to have the customer, who has been so often abused, at heart always.   

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