Douala (National Times)-One of Cameroon’s leading telecommunication companies, MTN Cameroon has restored 33 out of the 206 vandalised telecom sites in the North West and South West Regions.
The mobile telephony company’s properties were reportedly destroyed vandalised by yet to be identified men in April 2018.
Talking to the Press on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, the Company’s Corporate Communications Manager, Massey Njiti Bongang, said 60 percent of the MTN antennas in the restive Anglophone Regions of Cameroon have been rehabilited.
“A total of 206 MTN antennas sites have been destroyed since April 2018 by the pro-independence fighters and some are out of order, which cannot be access due to difficulties and the high level of insecurity in the two Regions,” she stated.
According to Massey Njiti Bongang, the two Regions have been having network challenges since the month of April 2018 because of the malfunction of the stationed antennas destroyed. She added that despites the current challenges faced by the company, the institution is doing everything possible to restore the vandalised telecom sites and antennas.
“Despite these issues, the operator reports indicate that it has already restored 33 vandalised sites and will do same with the remaining 173 telecom sites progressively to avoiding endangering the lives of those responsible for carrying out the rehabilitation work”, Massey Njiti reiterated.
Some disgruntled inhabitants of the two Regions have supported the action of the gunmen who vandalised the company’s installations, accusing all the telecoms operators in Cameroon, including MTN, of having conspired with government in 2017 to disrupt internet in the Regions.
MTN Cameroon is the most popular network in the two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon and since 2017, MTN Cameroon’s network has increasingly been disrupted in the two Regions of the country.
Most towns in the South West Region like Ekona, Muyuka, Muyenge, Malende are completely cut-off from MTN networks because the antennas have been destroyed.
The Cameroon Private-sector Investors and Employers Association (GICAM) said the telecommunication sector is one of the most hit in the long-drawn conflict, “with the systematic destruction of antennas, transmission sites and a geometric fall in turnover.”
In a July 2018 report, GICAM said that telecommunication companies in the North West and South West Regions experienced a FCFA 1 billion monthly deficit in turnover and FCFA 300 million worth of equipment destroyed.
Out of a total of 618 antennas and transmission sites in the restive areas, 114 were fully or partially destroyed as of July 31, 2018, the report disclosed.
The poor network quality is also attributed to multiple cuts of the optical fibre owned and managed by state-owned Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL).