It’s been bitter sweet for the major telcos in Cote d’Ivoire this past week. Just as Orange TV and Scandinavia’s Norigin Media partnered to launch a multiscreen streaming app, the French telco has been fined for poor connectivity and failures in customer service. Orange is not alone. L’Agence de régulation des télécommunications de Côte d’Ivoire (ARTCI) has also fined MTN Cote d’Ivoire, the second-largest telco with 9 million subscribers, and Moov with close to 6 million.
Outside industry, there is significant support for a hard-line approach. Visibly frustrated, a source at consumer body, the fédération des associations de consommateurs actifs de Côte d’Ivoire (FACACI), told us that the move is much-welcomed: “we all understand that accidents can happen, especially with digital technologies. But when you are seeking help for your problem and you are met with a stone wall, it is too much. We are very happy that ARTCI has heard the cries of the Ivorians.” In fact, some commentators argue that USD8.5million in fines for all three companies is too low given their combined turnover (USD 430 million in Q2 of 2017).
While the stance of the industry regulator is symbolically tough, relations are not entirely ruptured. For example, Orange and ARTCI will come together as sponsors (alongside others) for a cybersecurity conference taking place in Abidjan next week, with the support of the US Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire. The confluence of experts in cybercrime, industry regulators and private sector bodies will discuss cyberspace vulnerability affecting an estimated 80% of companies in West Africa who are without effective cybercrime detection systems.
 Available on the Android and iOS devices of Orange’s 12.4 million subscribers in Cote d’Ivoire
The above paragraphs are excerpted from a larger piece shared on 4th October
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