Mobile Numbers: Portability Remains Low

Only a few people are using the service launched since September 2017.

Chinese Huawei telecommunications giant hired to build a data center that would enable mobile telephone users in Cameroon to switch from one service provider to the other without changing sim cards, completed its job as planned, according to Wu Jing, Director of Public Relations at Huawei Cameroon.

The completion of the job that cost MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroon and Nexttel FCFA 1.5 billion paved the way for the Telecommunications Regulatory Board to launch the service on September 1, 2017.

It was expected that citizens would be flooding service centres of mobile telephone service providers after the launch; on the contrary very few Cameroonians seem to be interested in it despite the flexibility the portability option is said to offer.

Eric Sindeu, Technical Director at the Telecommunications Regulatory Board told Cameroon Tribune that the reason only few Cameroonians are using the service is lack of adequate sensitisation. “Mobile telephone number portability has been effective since September 2017. The only problem is that we did not have enough money to sensitize citizens as we would have loved to.

A source at the communication unit of the Board confirmed there was a well-planned campaign to inform and educate mobile telephone users of the availability and benefits of the service. “We started a communication campaign to sensitize citizens after the launch in September 2017, but it ended halfway,” our source said.

Sources at MTN Cameroon equally concurred the portability is effective and open to every mobile telephone user free of charge.

Meanwhile, many Yaounde City dwellers we talked to said they have not even tried to use the service. While others said they do not even understand what mobile telephone number portability means, others dismissed the idea, saying they are comfortable using one or two service providers with two sim cards.

The conception and realisation of the initiative was carried out under the coordination of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.