Mobile Network Trouble Resurfaces in Cameroon
Customers say communicating on MTN and Orange networks has become a nightmare. The country has been rendered almost incommunicado during the past three or four days. Customers of the two main mobile telecommunication companies, MTN and Orange are finding it difficult to talk to each other. Ask any of them what the trouble is and he or she will tell you, “network problem”. This blanket phrase is being used by almost all the customers of the two companies when they find themselves in a difficult communication situation.
“You promised calling me last evening making me to postpone an important appointment”, Mathias, one of the customers in Yaounde angrily scolded a friend. “No, Mathi, I did all my best to call you but network problems. I can’t understand what is happening”, the friend responded.
Not only have people missed several appointments, some of which are extremely important to their livelihood like Mathias, many have seen their businesses significantly affected as a result of lack of communication. In effect, the so called network problems manifest themselves in several ways. The phone rings briefly and then goes to answerphone. Sometimes, it gets through but the quality of communication is extremely poor. In some disturbing circumstances, the line goes through; one of the communicators gets his voice across to the other, but is unable to hear the person being called.
Unlike in the past when authorities of the two companies published press statements explaining to the public the reasons behind the situation, no such explanation has been made so far. However, in response to a phone call last week, Melvine Akam, the official in charge of communication at MTN, described the situation as mild and endemic to specific regions. “This is a minor situation and should not be generalised as a network problem”, he said.
Akam blamed the situation on unsteady supply of electricity which affects MTN equipment thereby having an impact on the network. “Like I say, this is not a general network problem. Once there is a problem, our team of technicians quickly goes to the field where they immediately regularise the situation. Last week, officials from Orange were not responding to calls from the Cameroon Tribune.