Gambia’s regulator calls for backup connectivity on submarine cables

Gambia’s regulator calls for backup connectivity on submarine cables

Gambia’s telecom market is dominated by the incumbent telco Gamtel, which retains a monopoly on fixed-line telephony services. There are five mobile network operators providing effective competition, though Giraffe Telecom was only licensed in January 2022 and is yet to be assigned spectrum.

The market leader is Africell, with about 62% of the market, while Comium and QCell compete closely for second and third place. Gamtel’s mobile unit Gamcel is by far the smallest operator, having suffered from underinvestment in recent years. Comium has also suffered from financial difficulties: its failure to pay accumulated fees resulted in the government having sought a temporary suspension of its services in mid-2021.

Mobile penetration is well above the African average, itself a testament to the poor condition of the fixed-line infrastructure and the lack of availability of fixed services in many rural areas of the country.

Although the incumbent has a relatively well-developed national fibre backbone network, low fixed-line penetration has hindered internet usage. There are only four licensed ISPs, which are small operators serving local areas, and so competition is minimal. Their limited services are complemented by the fixed-wireless offerings of three of the MNOs.

The government has embarked on a National Broadband Network program aimed at closing the digital divide affecting many parts of the country. Gamtel launched services based on this network in late 2019, though on a limited scale. Despite efforts to improve internet connectivity, the country ranks among the lowest globally in terms of digital readiness.

Key developments:

  • MOICI grants Giraffe Telecom The Gambia ’s fifth mobile licence;
  • Government confirms long-standing Gamcel privatisation plans;
  • Africell launches LTE services, competing with QCell;
  • Government liberalises the international gateway;
  • QCell launches its Qodoo Mobile Money service, follows with LTE;
  • Gamtel launches fibre services based on the National Broadband Network;
  • International Network Management Center (IINMC) opens, facilitating traffic on ACE cable;
  • Gamtel contracts Huawei for fibre backbone project;
  • Report update includes Gamtel’s financial data, ITU’s data for 2020, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of the pandemic on the telecoms sector, regulator’s market data for Q4 2020, recent market developments.

Get a Full Copy of this Report

Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeComm, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeComm report:

Report title: Gambia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: January 2022

Analysts: Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange

Number of pages: 108

Companies mentioned in this report: Gambia Telecommunications (Gamtel), Gamcel, Africell, Comium, QCell, Globacom, Thuraya, GamNet, QuantumNet, Netpage, Airtip

Single User PDF Licence Price: US$890

For more information or to purchase a copy of the full report please use the following link: