Cameroonian Telecoms & ICT Professional’s Body Applauds New Decree to Accelerate Digitalisation

Dr.-Ing. Pierre-Francois KAMANOU, President of REPTIC.CM.

The Cameroonian Government has signed into a law new Decree No. 2022/10902 to accelerate the digitalization of the Cameroonian economy paving way for the introduction of Virtual Fixed Numbers; dedicated to Corporates’ Application Platforms for centralized management of all multi-channel interactions with their mobile customers.

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Applauding the signing of the new Decree by the Government of President Paul Biya in a statement, Dr.-Ing. Pierre-Francois KAMANOU, President of REPTIC.CM, a network of Professionals Telecoms, ICT & Digital sector in Cameroon noted that the Decree fills a legal void in the identification of subscribers-legal persons using fixed telephony services.

According to him, the Decree only covers the identification of subscribers-physical persons by mobile numbers on SIM cards.

While expressing REPTIC satisfaction for the Decree, he said that the Decree has finally granted a legal basis to multi-channel IP telephony in Cameroon, thereby facilitating the entry into the new relevant market of A2P telephony services (Voice, SMS, USSD) of new licensed local operators, while incidentally promoting the creation of new jobs in the sector, as recommended by the World Bank; which has been the case in all Western countries since the 1980s.

The implementation of this decree will bring the following benefits, among others:
1.A new source of A2P telephony revenue with strong growth potential to compensate the inevitable drop in P2P telephony revenue for mobile Operators, according to several studies by international firms.

2.Companies as legal persons will no longer use mobile numbers on their ICT platforms via SIMBOXES (this is illegal and generates large loss for mobile Operators on local and international traffic with an estimated traffic loss of about twenty billion CFA Francs per year).

3.Companies will now use ID number instead of names of their choice to send messages to their customers. This will limit the risk of usurpation of brand names in a galloping context of cybercrime, and on the other hand make it possible to prevent international Operators providing BulkSMS service to local companies from exercising unfair competition with local VAS Providers with unused short/long VAS numbers which results in loss of revenue.

4.The annual fees for VAS numbers allocated and not used by Operators holding license or prior declaration will be canceled by the TRB.

5.Company employees will no longer be required to disclose their personal mobile number for business purposes. They will all be able to use the same ID virtual number to make and receive business calls through a virtual Switchboard (IPBX) platform.

6.Companies will now be able to use their ID virtual fixed number as a unique merchant code by USSD payment services providers on their bank accounts or wallets via complementary GIMAC-PAY and CAMPOST-237USSD platforms.

It only remains to strongly hope that the TRB, responsible for implementing this text will take all the necessary steps within a reasonable time to regulate this innovative market, in particular by setting the ceiling rates for A2P call termination. This will allow fixed and mobile telephony Operators to draw up their interconnection catalogs intended for licensed Operators.

While commending the Government for the implementation of this revolutionary decree aimed at better structuring the telecom ecosystem in Cameroon, the REPTIC thank the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Mrs. Minette Libom Li Likeng, for her active involvement in the successful outcome of this project.

REPTIC stated that ICT and Digital Service Providers will be able to seize this opportunity to develop innovative applications and implement endogenous solutions in order to catch up with Cameroon’s delay in the field of the digital economy. This is how “Made in Cameroon” policy advocated by the President of the Republic Paul BIYA can be translated concretely into the telecoms and digital sector.

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