This week saw thousands of Cameroonians yesterday protest against what they regard as unacceptable quality of service from mobile operators MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon.
In an enterprising approach, subscribers across the country switched their devices to airplane mode, effectively disabling all analogue voice and digital data services between 12pm and 2pm local time, as a way of expressing their disapproval.
According to ITWeb Africa, the protestors claim they have raised their concerns since last year, due to prolonged network disruptions. The high cost of connectivity in the country is another focus, along with allegations that call, SMS and data bundles are often deducted arbitrarily by operators.
The campaign also gained a following online, before and after the protest, with the hashtag #ModeAvion237 used by hundreds of protestors.
It's unfortunate timing for Orange Cameroon, given that, as we reported in March, it has pledged to spend CFA150 billion (US$244 million) to upgrade its network over the next five years, an aim that now seems more necessary than ever.
However, some feel that the regulator is not doing enough to monitor the telcos, which may not be entirely true. Back in 2019 we reported that Cameroon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Agency had fined the local operations of MTN, Orange and Viettel on the grounds that none of the operators had met agreed network improvement targets, with the regulator claiming that the operators’ network standards were in fact “still deteriorating”. That said, nearly four years later, it looks like little has improved.