MTN Group Ltd on Thursday March 9, said it is considering investing in countries such as Cameroon, classified by the group as “conflict markets.
In a recent review on its markets across Africa and the Middle East, the mobile-phone company states that is doing a spring clean of its empire in these countries.
According to the Group Chief Financial Officer, Ralph Mupita, the company plans to take “appropriate action” if any of these countries are not cash-flow positive.
Regarding Cameroon, Mupita said MTN received a $6.6 million fine from Cameroon’s telecommunications regulator and a one-year reduction in its license term for allegedly not complying with spectrum and subscriber registration regulations.
Mupita also revealed that the company was also ordered to disconnect 3 million subscribers.“It’s a big priority to resolve this in the near term,” Mupita said. “If it’s not resolvable, then it’s not resolvable. We want to find an amicable resolution to stay.
Cameroon’s government, it would be recalled, had exhorted mobile companies including MTN, to cut internet from subscribers, in an attempt to douse protests from English speaking Cameroonians. Despite pressures from rights groups and international organisations against the ban, government remained adamant.
Government’s shutdown of internet in English speaking Cameroon had made life extremely difficult for millions of people in the country. Citizens in dire need of internet connectivity were forced beyond endurance to hunt for the high-tech communication technology in neighbouring cities making them to be tagged as internet refugees. The Internet blackout did not only slow down businesses but shut them out with associated heavy financial losses
A coalition of rights groups monitoring internet outage recently disclosed that Cameroon lost over $2.69 million during the internet shutdown.
Internet in Anglophone Cameroon, was partially restored on April 20, 2017, after three months blackout.
MTN Cameroon FY revenue falls due to lower subscriber base
MTN Cameroon’s total revenue in 2017 decreased by 6.6 percent on an organic basis to ZAR 5.38 billion, hit by the lower subscriber base and offset by 21.1 percent growth in data and a 27.4 percent rise in digital revenue. MTN still experienced a challenging operating environment, following the data shutdown and a slowdown in economic activity, which had a material impact on subscriber and revenue growth in the year.
The business suffered a number of operational challenges, too. The subscriber base closed the year at 7.1 million, after the disconnection of approximately 3.0 million subscribers in early October 2017 to comply with regulatory requirements on subscriber registration. The company had stated 9.45 million subscribers on 30 September and 9.87 million at end-2016.
Active Mobile Money customers increased 194.2 percent to 1.1 million, with revenue up 767 percent year-on-year
By Elah Geofrey with additional reports from Journal du Cameroon