Two of Cameroun’s mobile telecoms companies, MTN and Orange have suspended the SMS interconnections services of GTS Infotel Limited, a value added service company without notice and prior approval of the Regulator (TRB), due to commercial disputes.
According to a statement issued by the founder of the company, Dr.-Ing Pierre-François Kamanou, the suspension was done while discussions with each of them in view of the signing of an interconnection agreement as recommended by the TRB in the context of a conciliation attempt procedure initiated since December 2018 was on-going.
Kamanou who is the First Vice President of the African ICT Foundation (AfICTF), an NGO promoting digital skill embrace among Africans and championing the course of ICT and Internet penetration in the continent, expressed worry that the mobile operators still have not recognized GTS-Infotel in its status of alternative operator of VAS network based on prefix 8 virtual numbers identifying companies and their Audiotex services accessible to all mobile subscribers.
“As a reminder, GTS-Infotel was created in 2002 to respond to one of the main objectives of the telecommunications sector reform initiated in Cameroon since 1998, and concerning the participation of national private economic operators, especially in the area of liberalization of value-added services (VAS).
“This is how it obtained the first license for value-added telecommunications services since 2002 but was forced to run the business of VAS Provider”, he explained
He said further: “Notwithstanding obtaining a transitional license title in 2015 and afterwards a formal license title in 2017 under the same authorization regime. Even with these, the mobile operators still have not recognized GTS-Infotel in its status of alternative operator of VAS network based on prefix 8 virtual numbers identifying companies and their Audiotex services accessible to all mobile subscribers.”
According to him, the implementation of this offer would have made it possible to meet the multiple mobile access needs of more than 1000 ICT service providers including Startups and more than 200 VAS providers declared to TRB, which cannot interconnect directly to each mobile operator.
He lamented that the situation has made GTS Infotel to suffer considerable losses because of the unjustified refusal of the mobile operators to establish Voice/SMS/USSD interconnection agreements with GTS-Infotel, as provided by law.
The GTS Infotel Founder revealed that the current framework of development of Audiotex corporate services limited to Bulk SMS market is largely dominated by international SMS aggregators and SIMBox.
While apologising to its customers for the inconvenience, he appealed that the Public Authorities clarify its status as an alternative VAS network operator in order to settle the dispute between us and mobile operators as soon as possible.
He also announced the introduction soon into the Cameroonian market its Mobinawa network, the support network of the digitalization of mobile business communications services saying that it is a key factor to the success of the digital transformation of enterprises and administrations.