- Gambian President Yahya Jammeh used his 42nd birthday celebrations on 25 May to launch a third GSM network in the country. But company’s products were available at the market three days later.
Wheeled and engineered by Comium Gambia, the state-of-the-art 2.5G GSM mobile phone network is believed to have been specifically tailor made to meet the country’s communication needs. It will also provide subscribers with the world class products they have so far lacked.
Since 2001, Gambians have been relying on Gamcel and Africell for mobile services.
Despite the small size of the country, the two companies are yet to satisfy the demands of their customers, as their services have been interrupted by network failures, poor coverage, among other problems. It was once reported that some Gambians at some point climbed up trees to search for lost mobile networks.
Comium Gambia is a subsidiary of a Luxembourg-based global telecommunications giant, the Comium Group. Comium is an international group offering GSM, internet and value added services in ten countries.
Marketing of the new network had begun before it even started kicking operations. A news release issued by the company assured “a wider range of advanced value-added services than those available at present, Comium will also be the first network to offer complete coverage of the whole country, bringing mobile telecommunications to all of The Gambia from day one.”
In his launching statement, Gambian leader boast of his government’s commitment to encourage the private sector participation in moving the country’s development. He said his government is poised to promote telecommunication technology, which is why it has launched a new wireless communication programme that aims to promote easy access to digital facilities as well as enhancement of international gateway facilities.
Gambian President was enthralled by the new mobile company’s desire to provide coverage to the rural communities that have been denied networks since GSM was introduced in The Gambia six years back. This, according to Mr Jammeh, would help establish market information systems for their produce and enhance their socio-economic activities thereby contributing to poverty reduction in a country with over 69 percent of poor citizens.
Mrs Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, Gambia’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology hailed Comium’s branch out to the country, describing it as a “remarkable achievement in the government’s efforts to bring Gambians a variety of choices, encourage affordability and cost effective services in a competitive environment.”
She said the government has ensured a level playing field to allow all operators to have equal opportunities in the mobile market. Mrs Macdouall-Gaye has appealed to mobile operators to ensure that interconnection prevails in a non-discriminatory and fair manner so that customers enjoy uninterrupted access to all the networks.
“Interconnection access is a right and not a privilege,” she stressed, adding that in collaboration with the public utilities regulatory authority, her ministry will start taking stringent punitive measures against operators that go refuse to ensure interconnectivity.
Mr Ali Dallout, the Chairman of Comium board proudly said the company will bring its 15 years of telecommunication experience to The Gambia. He said the aim is to project the country as a leader in sub-regional telecommunication.
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