Cameroon: Telephone Identification Still On
Mobile telephone providers say majority of their subscribers are not identified.
The deadline for the identification of telephone numbers has come and gone. But mobile telephone users are still seen around their operators to be identified. Statistics from the different telephone operators in Cameroon indicate that a majority of their clients have not been identified. While waiting for the official telephone identification date to be extended, mobile operators have decided to continue with the identification of their subscribers. However, information from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (initiator of the identification of telephone numbers) indicates that nothing has been said about extending the date of telephone identification.
CAMTEL authorities say a majority of their clients came only towards the deadline of 28 February to identify their numbers. As such, not up to 50 per cent of their subscribers have been identified. Statistics indicate that 41 per cent of the 500,000 CAMTEL subscribers have identified their numbers. At CAMTEL, identification of telephone numbers will continue and even if a subscriber's number is blocked, it will be reinstated when that person identifies his/her number. The identification of new CAMTEL numbers is automatic at the point of purchase. The procedure is the same for other mobile telephone operators. A mobile operator like MTN Cameroon, say four months was not enough to identify their subscribers given that they are over 4.5 million in number. As of 20 February, statistics from MINPOSTEL indicate that 1.8 million MTN clients have identified their numbers while 2.5 million Orange users have been identified.
An MTN authority that opts for anonymity says effective identification of phone numbers did not take place in the month of December and January due to the end of year festivities and the African Nations Cup that took place respectively. People were preoccupied with feasting and watching football and not to identify their phone numbers. As such, people effectively identified their MTN phone numbers during the month of November and February. MTN officials say they need more time to go through the identification procedure for their interest is not to block the lines of their subscribers but to be sure that the company knows everybody in the network. Before now, some 1000 clients were identified each day at the 13 identification sites specified by MTN. With the decentralization of the process, some 500 mobile identification crews are in all the nooks and crannies of the country identifying MTN mobile users. This has increased the identification number from 1000 to 25,000 per day, the official said.