Burkina Faso’s operators face another consumer boycott

Issues about pricing and quality of mobile communications service are continuing to anger consumers in Burkina Faso, where a new boycott campaign has been announced against the country’s three main operators.

This follows a similar protest in April, which does not seem to have led to any major improvement.

According to the Ecofin news service, 8 August will see a new protest campaign aimed at mobile telephone operators Moov Africa, Orange and Telecel – though not all at once. At a press conference given last week a group called the Conference of the Platform of Human Rights Defence Associations announced that the boycott is to start with Moov. A week later Orange will be boycotted; Telecel will follow on 22 August. Subscribers are being asked to disconnect from the mobile network for five hours, from 7am to 12pm, on the days in question.

Burkinabe regulator the Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (ARCEP), has also been involved in this ongoing issue. Last November we reported that ARCEP had warned all three of the country’s major operators that they were failing to uphold the quality of service (QoS) standards stipulated by their licences.

At the time telecom companies committed to improvement, notably by increasing the volume of internet packages by 10%. Not surprisingly, this isn’t good enough for the protesters.

Will this bring about a reduction in the cost of services and an improvement in their quality? It’s hard to be sure. The price and quality issue has been rumbling on for some time. In early 2020, as we reported at the time, it even caused the country’s Prime Minister to get involved.

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