New Telephone Rates in Cameroon but Status Quo For 'Call Boxes'
Since June 1, telephone users in Cameroon have benefitted from a 20 percent drop in call tariffs. The measures follow negotiations between the Telecommunications Regulatory Board and the three telephone operators in the country: Camtel, MTN and Orange Cameroon.
Although the 20 percent cut was expected to bring smiles in the faces of telephone users, this however has not been the case. Owners of privately run "call box" facilities have not benefitted from the new price rates. Also, people complain that telephone calls are cheaper at night when most people are already asleep and make fewer calls.
This notwithstanding, call box businesses continue operating. Yvette N. who owns a call box in town told Cameroon Tribune that the reduction of telephone rates benefits only people with ordinary sim cards:”Nothing has changed for those of us with business SIM cards," she explained. She went on that the business SIM card from MTN and orange is FCFA 10,000 and the prices have not changed with the reduction in tariffs. As a result the call rates still stand at FCFA 100 per minute. "We don't gain anything from the calls. We only gain from the bonus and the transfer of credits," she said. She regretted the fact that since the 20 per cent reduction, their customers have reduced considerably.
"The problem we have now is that many people now prefer the transfer or refill cards because it is cheaper to use their phones to call," she said. Another Call box owner, Atangana, said they were not informed of the new rates. He explained that Orange sent a message recently informing them of the rates for private lines but for the business lines they have not yet received any message from the telephone companies. The mobile telephone company has introduced night and super night tariffs valid from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.