Cameroon’s main operator Camtel has according to local media, announced plans to bring on board local companies to help operate its FTTH fibre optic networks in two major cities: Yaoundé and Douala.
The company is hoping to put together partnerships on all existing network sites by the end of December next year in a deal that will allow partner operators to have a partial right to use a given building’s FTTH connections. Partner operators can either apply for installation and maintenance operations, resale of capacity, or both.
This move may come as a surprise given that the country is seen as a sub-regional fibre optic hub; it’s connected to five subsea cables: SAT3, WACS, ACE, SAIL and NCSCS.
The Business in Cameroon website points out, however, that earlier this year the International Finance Corporation (IFC) issued a report revealing that investments in the telecommunications sector fell by 78% between 2016 and 2019. It also highlighted the need to continue the deployment of optical fibres. The IFC has also said that the penetration rate of fixed and mobile broadband internet in Cameroon has been stagnating at 22% since 2016.
It probably doesn’t help that at the moment Camtel is the monopoly operator of optical fibres in Cameroon, and that it has apparently failed to bring fibre to large parts of the country – or effectively manage existing networks, as this announcement implies.