Africa > Central Africa > Cameroon > Cameroon Communication Profile

Cameroon: Cameroon Communication Profile



Cameroon’s economic increase has lagged behind other nations in the region which is mirrored by the development of its telecommunications sector. In early 2012 it is of only a few nations in Africa left with only competing mobile networks, MTN and Orange. The re-entry into the mobile market by fixed-line incumbent Camtel as the third player has been delayed by controversy regarding its licence. The licensing of a third mobile network finally made evolution in early 2012 with several international players in the bidding.

The result of the restrictive market structure is a mobile market penetration rate that is below the African average and as well below that of other nations with similar GDP per capita levels. Third generation (3G) mobile service has still not been introduced apart from Camtel’s EV-DO fixed-wireless service. Fixed-line penetration is extremely low, and the privatisation of Camtel’s fixed-line business has failed several times.

Mirroring a trend throughout developing markets, the average revenue per user in Cameroon’s mobile sector has fallen continuously as lower income groups gain access to services. The operators are trying to generate new revenue streams from the virtually untapped Internet and broadband market by introducing mobile data and WiMAX wireless broadband services.

Camtel has been allowed to monopolise access to the SAT-3/WASC international fibre optic submarine cable, which has led to extremely high prices and a grey market of unlicensed satellite gateway operators offering Internet access and Voice over Internet Protocol services. A major expansion program for international fibre connections and a national fibre backbone network is underway with funding from the Word Bank and China.

Under a additional liberal regulatory regime, Cameroons telecommunications market could catch up very quickly with its peers in the region. The industry regulator has indicated it plans to complete the privatisation of Camtel and increase competition by licensing additional operators.

Estimated market penetration rates in Cameroon’s telecoms sector –

Market Penetration rate
Mobile 49%
Fixed/fixed-wireless 3%
Internet 4%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Internet country code: 


Communications note: