By Leocadia Bongben
The Government of Cameroon has renewed the licence of the Mobile Telephony Network, MTN Cameroon, and authorised the company to exploit the 3G/4G (Generation) technologies.
The G-technology is a set of standards used to differentiate wireless technology.
The authorisation agreement was signed in Yaounde on March 11, between the Government of Cameroon, represented by the Ministers of Post and Telecommunications and Finance, Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam and, Alamine Ousmane Mey and MTN Cameroon -represented by its Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Karl Toriola.
Speaking at the occasion, the MTN CEO said, “The renewal of our licence translates the confidence Cameroon has bestowed on the capacities of the MTN Group to further contribute towards the development of telecommunications in Cameroon.
It also confirms MTN’s engagement to support Cameroon in its willingness to reach emergence by decisively contributing to align the nation to the new digital world. We shall succeed in this endeavour, thanks to the tested experience and always growing skills of the MTN Group, innovative leader of telecommunications in Africa.”
The new licence, the CEO said, is attributed to MTN Cameroon at FCFA 75 billion for 15 years, from February 15, 2015 to February 15, 2030.
In addition to the 2G licence, MTN Cameroon would now exploit the 3G and 4G as well as deploy the optical fibre within and between towns and divisions.
Following the agreement, MTN’s 3G/4G network shall be deployed in more than 700 sites in 16 towns in Cameroon from the first year of exploitation and progressively extend to other towns targeting 75 percent of the population by 2018.
The MTN CEO revealed that the outfit intends to invest more than FCFA 4,000 billion for the duration of this new licence in order to ease access to high-speed internet and most recent and advanced communication solutions by the population and enterprises.
“High-speed internet and communication solutions contribute significantly towards bridging the digital gap in Cameroon; ameliorate the competiveness of enterprises and create over a thousand direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect employments in the long term,” he added.
Toriola maintained that the 3G/4G licence would enable MTN to develop mobile internet, which is an essential tool for modern economies and reservoir for sustainable growth.
As such, he went on, MTN would significantly contribute towards bridging the digital divide, through increasing by over 20 percent the Internet penetration rate, which, unfortunately, still stands below seven percent in Cameroon.
The facilities resulting from this rapid access to internet by 3G or 4G terminals shall considerably enhance corporate competitiveness and provide modern and useful services in the sectors of Education, Health, Banking, Commerce and any other activity that requires high-speed technological support for the transmission of data.
It should be recalled that in February 2000, the MTN Group bought over the state-owned mobile telephony enterprise, CAMTEL Mobile, and has since then been a model of the privatisation success story which the Government embraced in 1995.
Today, 15 years on, MTN has made phone access possible to 10 million subscribers from the less than 5,000 subscribers the company inherited from CAMTEL Mobile.
MTN Cameroon has equally invested over FCFA 600 billion to build a state-of-the-art and an extended modern communication network which boosts relationships and opens up remote areas.
The organisation employs 200,000 youths with an impact which each day confirms MTN Cameroon as the first tax payer to the State, and major stakeholder of the national economy, which supports the growth of local SMEs and promotes Cameroonian talents.
Due to its corporate social responsibility, MTN contributes to the welfare of communities by providing solutions to problems of access to potable water, healthcare and quality education.