Portio Mobile Factbook 2013
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With only three Internet service providers, the sector is not very competitive. Wireless offerings are competing with Gamtel’s ADSL broadband service. However, for international fibre bandwidth the country depends on neighbouring Senegal which has led to high prices. Gambia’s own direct access to new submarine fibre-optic cable systems from 2011 will dramatically lower the cost of international bandwidth.
Mobile market penetration is well above the African average. Gamtel competes in this sector through its subsidiary (Gamcel) against Africell and Comium, both with Lebanese backing, and QCell which is affiliated with one of the country’s leading ISPs, QantumNet. QCell introduced third generation (3G) mobile services to the country in 2009, including a mobile broadband service.
A new Telecommunications/ICT Bill is expected to create a regulatory environment under which more competition will be introduced to more sectors of the telecommunications market. In view of convergence, the new law will be technology-neutral, which will also liberalise the use of VoIP Internet telephony.
The partial privatisation of Gamtel and Gamcel in 2007 was revoked a year later due to non-performance of the new owners and is likely to be repeated in the near future.