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Basics Edit

According to statistics from the Telecoms Regulatory Agency, the mobile phone sector in the Africa state of Cameroon had 16.8 million subscribers (out of a population of 22 million inhabitants) at the end of 2015.

Providers Edit

  • MTN Cameroon
  • Orange Cameroon (previously Airtel)
  • Nexttel (by Viettel)
  • Camtel (Cameroon Telecommunications - CDMA and LTE)

Cameroon was for many years one of the few countries in Africa with only two competing mobile operators: MTN and Orange. After some delays, Nexttel (majority-owned by Viettel) launched a 3rd network in 2014, including the country’s first 3G mobile service. The operator has grown swiftly, signing up 2 million subscribers and gaining market share. Competition in 3G followed in early 2015 when both MTN and Orange launched services. Mobile broadband based on 4G/LTE was established at the end of 2015 and this has been the catalyst for a fast-developing mobile broadband sector. The investment programs among operators over the next few years will boost mobile broadband services in rural areas of the country. At the tail end of this ranking is the historical operator, Camtel, sole landline phone operator of the country, which has shrunk to 1.4% of the phone market, but launched a new 4G/LTE network.

Vodafone-Africell's 4G/LTE licence was suspended in Sep. 2017. YooMee Mobile, which had previously operated as an internet service provider teamed up with Camtel in 2015 to become the first MVNO in Cameroon under the YooMee Mobile brand. Service is on Camtel's unreliable and uncompatible CDMA network. That's why they are not listed.

For the three major networks 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz. 4G was lauched in 2015 on MTN and Orange as TDD-LTE on the unusal frequency of 2500 MHz (band 41) while Vodafone-Africell's LTE network was closed again in 2017.

Quality of service Edit

Ookla's speed tests in 2017 saw MTN in the lead with 15 Mbit/s, followed by Orange with 6 Mbit/s and Nexttel with 3 Mbit/s.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL) has ordered the country's main telecoms operators, Camtel, MTN, Nexttel and Orange, to improve their mobile services within six months, in light of poor results from an independent assessment of network quality. The audit was carried out in 2017 in around 30 towns and 60 villages. It highlighted a number of quality issues, including poor network availability, dropped calls and slow mobile internet speeds.

The country will greatly benefit from the SAIL submarine cable providing a direct link to Brazil, and so onto other countries in the Americas. The cable, expected to be ready for service in late 2018, will improve international bandwidth and lead to further reductions in access prices for consumers.

Regulations Edit

A new decree was introduced in 2015 to re-inforce and clarify the procedures related to the identification of mobile subscribers in the country. The new rules prohibit the sale of SIM cards by street dealers, meaning that mobile operators must set up authorised retail outlets or sign official partnership deals with retailers to sell SIMs. In addition, the decree limits subscriber SIM ownership to three cards per operator.

The providers are required to suspend unregistered subscribers who have not fully complied with the directive and urge all customers whose numbers have been suspended, to complete their identification process at their service centres or sales points. Once this is done, the suspension will be uplifted within 24 hours. Up to three SIM cards can be registered on one name.

Still, it's easy to buy a SIM card in Cameroon on the street. But you may face disconnection this way. So it's better to go to a sales point of the providers first. After being disconnected, you'll have to go there anyway.

Internet shut-down Edit

The national telecommunications and internet service provider CamTel, on January 17, 2017 ordered all internet service providers in minority english-speaking western regions to completely shut down the internet. This turned out to be Africa's longest internet shutdown having lasted for 94 days.

The government again shut down the internet on October 1, 2017 barely six months later, while the region is still struggling to recover from the economic loss from the previous shutdown. The blackouts take a heavy toll on the country’s technology center located in the southwest region and popularly known as Silicon Mountain.

This situation has affected all mobile networks in the region and is only possible because of the governments monopoly over the internet infrastructure. Camtel operates the fiber optic backbone that provides all internet to the country making it easy for authorities to shut down the internet and pressure other telecom operators to do so.

MTN Cameroon Edit

MTN

MTN is still the market leader in the country with well over 50% of mobile subscribers. It has the best coverage and highest speeds. 4G started in 2015 on the very unusual TD-LTE frequency of 2500 MHz (band 41) and is available in these towns: 4G/LTE coverage.

Availability Edit

SIM cards should be bought in their stores (locator) with registration for around 500 CFA or on the street for less, if you don't mind being shut off.

Top-ups with refill cards can be found on every street corner. Check your balance by *155#,

Data feature packages Edit

Default tariff without having activated a bundle is 0.02 F per KB, off-bundle tariff for overuse is 0.005 F per KB. These bundles are offered:

Data Time Price Activation
50 MB 2 hours 50 CFA *157*6*1#
10 MB 24 hours 45 CFA *157*1*2#
100 MB 100 CFA *157*1*3#
250 MB 250 CFA *157*1*4#
600 MB 500 CFA *157*1*5#
2 GB 1000 CFA *157*1*6#
1 GB 0 - 6am 500 CFA *157*5*1#
1 GB/day 3 days 1200 CFA *157*5*1*1#
2 GB/day 2550 CFA *157*5*1*2#
3 GB/day 4000 CFA *157*5*1*3#
4 GB/day 5450 CFA *157*5*1*4#
5 GB/day 6900 CFA *157*5*1*5#
50 MB 7 days 180 CFA *157*2*2#
200 MB 700 CFA *157*2*3#
750 MB 1000 CFA *157*2*4#
3 GB 3000 CFA *157*2*5#
1 GB/day 7 days 2700 CFA *157*5*2*1#
2 GB/day 5750 CFA *157*5*2*2#
3 GB/day 8800 CFA *157*5*2*3#
4 GB/day 12,000 CFA *157*5*2*4#
5 GB/day 15,200 CFA *157*5*2*5#
1 GB/day 15 days 5250 CFA *157*5*3*1#
2 GB/day 11,250 CFA *157*5*3*2#
3 GB/day 17,350 CFA *157*5*3*3#
4 GB/day 25,000 CFA *157*5*3*4#
5 GB/day 32,250 CFA *157*5*3*5#
250 MB 30 days 850 CFA *157*3*2#
1.2 GB 2000 CFA *157*3*3#
3 GB 4000 CFA *157*3*4#
9.2 GB 8000 CFA *157*3*5#
30 GB (*) 10,000 CFA *157*3*6#
75 GB 40,000 CFA *157*4*1#
2 GB/day 30 days 21,000 CFA *157*5*4*2#
3 GB/day 34,500 CFA *157*5*4*3#
4 GB/day 49,500 CFA *157*5*4*4#
5 GB/day 63,500 CFA *157*5*4*5#

(*) as 1 GB per day.

More info Edit

Orange Cameroon (formerly Airtel) Edit

Orange UK

Orange is the clear number two in the country with more than 30% of its users. They bought this network from Airtel some years ago. They have launched 4G/LTE too, but have limited it to a much smaller area than MTN so far: 2G/3G/4G coverage

Availability Edit

SIM cards should be bought in their stores, kiosks and other outlets (list) with registration for around 300 CFA or on the street for less if you don't mind being shut off.

Top-ups can be found everywhere. Check credit by #111#.

Data feature packages Edit

These packs are sold for data:

Data Time Price
100 MB 24 hours 100 CFA
250 MB 250 CFA
600 MB 500 CFA
2 GB 1000 CFA
350 MB 3 days 300 CFA
500 MB 500 CFA
1.2 GB 30 days 2000 CFA
3 GB 4000 CFA
9.2 GB 8000 CFA
30 GB (*) 10,000 CFA

(*) as 1 GB per day. Activate a bundle by #145*2#.

More info Edit

Nexttel Edit

Nexttel

Nexttel owned by the Vietnamese army through Viettel started in 2014 in Cameroon. Two years later it had already 2.5 million subscribers and is the fastest growing network. It launched the country's first 3G network in 2014, but its 4G/LTE is still in trial mode. It has the most agressive pricing.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is often available for only 100 CFA. Their default plan is called "ECO". Other plans only give discounts for voice or SMS, not data.

Recharge cards are sold for 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, 10000 and 25000 CFA. All top-ups are valid for 90 days. To check balance, enter *801#; to top-up by card enter *802*<voucher code>#.

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate without packages is 25 CFA per MB. These packages are offered:

Data Time Price Activation
50 MB 2 hours 50 CFA *865*20#
100 MB 24 hours 100 CFA *865*24#
150 MB 24 hours 150 CFA *865*21#-
200 MB 0-6am 150 CFA *865*11#
250 MB 24 hours 250 CFA *865*22#
300 MB 0-6am 250 CFA *865*12#
400 MB Sat/Sun 300 CFA *865*80#
500 MB 24 hours 500 CFA *865*23#
600 MB Sat/Sun 500 CFA *865*81#
1 GB 7 days 2000 CFA *865*31#
1.5 GB Sat/Sun 1000 CFA *865*82#
1.5 GB 30 days 4000 CFA *865*44#-
4 GB Sat/Sun 2000 CFA *865*83#
4.7 GB 30 days 8000 CFA *865*41#
8.1 GB 30 days 12,000 CFA *865*42#
9 GB Sat/Sun 4000 CFA *865*84#
18.4 GB 30 days 25,000 CFA *865*43#
50 GB 30 days 68,500 CFA *865*45#
90 GB 30 days 135,000 CFA *865*46#

For social media these bundles are offered:

  • unlimited Facebook bundle:
    • for 1 day: 150 CFA, *865*51#
    • for 1 week: 500 CFA, *865*52#
    • for 1 month: 1500 CFA, *865*53#
  • unlimited WhatsApp bundle (no VoIP calls included):
    • for 1 day: 150 CFA, *865*61#
    • for 1 week: 500 CFA, *865*62#
    • for 1 month: 1500 CFA, *865*63#

More info Edit

Camtel (Cameroon Telecommunications, X-TremNet) Edit

Camtel

Camtel is Cameroon’s fixed line monopoly operator which has a limited network based on CDMA/EVDO called Fako that is migrating to GSM. In 2016 they rolled out their 4G/LTE network called "X-TremNet" on 1800 MHz (band 3).

Their Fako network is quite unreliable, based on CDMA, not compatible to GSM devices and can't be recommeded. However, their 4G/LTE XTremNet network can be a cheap option, if you have coverage. Douala and Yaoundé are covered only so far: 4G coverage list. Because of the limited coverage, it can't be an option for travelling, but may be an option for stationary use in Douala and Yaoundé. Speeds of around 50 Mbps have been reported. Have in mind, that there is no fallback or roaming on 2G/3G networks.

Availability Edit

The SIM card for their 4G network called "puce X-TremNet" is sold for 500 CFA with 2 GB of data in their stores called agencies in the two covered metro areas (store locator).

Data feature packages Edit

These data packs called "Forfaits X-TremNet" are offered:

Data Time Price
1.5 GB 24 hours 1,000 CFA
12 GB 7 days 5,000 CFA
20 GB 30 days 10,000 CFA
50 GB 30 days 20,000 CFA
100 GB 30 days 35,000 CFA

Packages need to be activated in store.

More info Edit