The announcement was made in a statement issued by Cameroon’s minister of telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti Bi-Essam.
Viettel Cameroon, a joint venture between Viettel Global and Bestinver S.A.R.L., won a tender that was launched early last year.
Viettel is expected to invest about US$400 million in Cameroon. The minister said this amount is required for the company to cover about “81 percent of the national territory when it goes operational; and will use second and third generation (2G – 3G) technologies”.
Prior to Viettel’s entry to Cameroon’s telecommunications sector, the two network providers in operation were Orange, owned by France Telecom, and South Africa's MTN Group. The companies have a total of nine million subscribers, about half of the West African nation’s population of 20 million.
As one of the few African countries with just two mobile telecoms companies, Cameroonians are yet to enjoy 3G services due to the failure of Orange and MTN to deploy the infrastructure. This is expected to change considering Viettel's early commitment to deploy 3G mobile network.
Experts in the nation’s telecoms industry also believe the introduction of a third network will be a positive factor that is capable of promoting the growth of the Cameroon’s telecommunications sector.