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While Kenya Waits, Cameroon Internet Prices Drop 90%

By Wayan Vota on August 31, 2009

Back in July, Kenya rejoiced with Seacom’s landing, expecting a quick and beneficial drop in Internet access costs and a dramatic increase in bandwidth. The general consensus was 50% to 90% drop in bandwidth costs. Sadly, they’re still waiting for something to happen.

Seacom doesn’t bring smiles to Kenya yet

Little pricing change in Kenya

As the Daily News reports, Internet firms are hold fast onto high charges. While some, like AccessKenya and Kenya Data Networks have dropped their prices already -“double bandwidth for free” and $5,000 per megabyte to $400, respectively – others are only offering modest price reductions:

UUNET Kenya managing director Tom Omariba says there are several input costs in rendering service to the end user and bandwidth is only one of them. “Indeed with only the exception of bandwidth, all the other costs have been going up. So far, players in our sector have announced they will be offering a price reduction of between 15-24 per cent,” said Mr Omariba.

The overall effect of this price stagnation after such price drop hype has been a disappointment with Seacom, which has dampened enthusiasm for ICT’s positive impact on economic development.

Competition dropping costs in Cameroon

Yet Cameroon, using the older, lower capacity SAT-3 cable for West Africa, is experiencing an Internet bonanza according to VOA Africa. In 2007, the ITU estimated only 200 broadband subscribers in all of Cameroon, but now one Internet service provider, Ringo, announced it had 5,000 subscribers after only six months of operation.

Why this massive change? Competition. Two years ago there were 4 ISPs in Cameroon, and now there are 25, including the major mobile telephone companies, which has driven Internet prices down 90% since the start of the year. In fact, Orange Cameroun just introduced a flat rate of about $21 per month, the lowest in the country. Compared to Kenya, that’s pretty much free Internet access.

Celebrate with a BarCamp Cameroon

And what better way to celebrate all that cheap bandwidth than attend BarCamp Cameroon, its first, on November 7, 2009, in Douala, Cameroon. With the theme of “digital dreams” the organizers aim for tough talking and innovative thinking. Attendance is free; all you need to bring is a willingness to share your ideas and opinions.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “While Kenya Waits, Cameroon Internet Prices Drop 90%”

  1. Wayan Vota says:

    Now this may get Kenyan ISP prices to drop: The Daily Nation reports that the East African Marine Systems (Teams) cable is to go live next week, according to Dr Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary ministry of Information and Communication in Kenya:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200909110997.html