MTN opens for business for Cameroon

After months of technical, infrastructure and logistic preparations, South African mobile telephony giant MTN, which took over Cameroon Telecom Mobile (CamTel Mobile), has launched operations in Douala.

Sources close to the company’s top management say that MTN is going to be the first mobile service provider to cover all of Cameroon.

The company is offering two types of subscription-based mobile telephony packages. One plan, ConnectaPlus, offers its customers unlimited airtime connection, which appeals to higher-income users. The ConnectaPlan offers subscribers limited connectivity based on a prepaid call card and appeals to those who have less income.

MTN apparently has a stronger infrastructure and a more reliable connection than its competition, but appears not to have grasped how to develop a pricing strategy that suits local residents, said Valentine Tah Atanga, a telecommunications consultant. MTN needs to address this issue, he said. The local market consists mostly of lower-income residents who have not had telephones for years.

MTN’s connection fee for the ConnectaPlan is more than 45,000 fca, well over US$63.00, the consultant said. The other local operator, Cam Mobilis, an affiliate of France Telecom SA, sells a similar service for just over 20,000 fca or US$ 27.00. As a result, Atanga said that Cam Mobilis is likely to keep its lead unless the pricing structure is changed.