Orange-Cameroon puts on hold thousends of unregistered telephone numbers

The Cameroonian subsidiary of the telecom operator Orange announced in an official communiqué published on 2nd July 2016, having launching, since Friday 1st July 2016, “the suspension of clients who were not able to get correctly registered by 30th June 2016”. At the same time, through a message broadcasted on media, Orange Cameroun was inviting “subscribers whose lines were suspended to quickly go to the stores and various registration points with a valid ID card to reactivate their number”.

Based on these suspensions and invitations to register, contacts points set up to this end by telecom operators in the Cameroonian capital were working full time last weekend. The record crowd of latecomers to these registration points, as well as the stores of the operators, continue since today Monday 4th July 2016. This is for subscribers whose numbers are not “valid” anymore since 1st July, to prove their identity before being able to have service resumed to communicate through calls, text messages or to browse the internet.

Moreover, some indications given by some operators and public authorities would lead one to believe that thousands of SIM cards are affected by this suspension. For example, according to the regional delegate of Minpostel for the South-West region, Nkwelle Epié, as at 1st July 2016, the rate of identification among mobile subscribers in his district oscillated between 70 and 75%, for urban areas only.

Additionally, while at Camtel, the historical telecom operator, the attendance rate of subscribers to the last registration operation is estimated at 90%, at Nextell, the 3rd mobile operator in the country, who claims 2 million subscribers, the rate of registration was pinned at 80% only a few days to 30th June, the deadline for the operation.

As a reminder, the launch of this new registration operation for mobile subscribers came after the publication, on 3rd September 2015, of a decree from the Prime Minister giving new directions to operators in terms of identification of telephone subscribers. This government directive was primarily issued in a context marked by terrorist attacks committed in Cameroon by the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram, attacks in which mobile telephones were used to activate explosives worn by the kamikazes.

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