27 January 2011

Gambia: Gamtel Launches 3G Services

The Gambia Telecommunication Company Ltd. (Gamtel), yesterday inaugurated its new 3G services, making it the second telecommunication provider to introduce such services in the country. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Gamtel head office in Banjul.

The new services -'Nafaa', Express, and Bantaba enable customers to access the Internet in the fastest form anywhere. It is ideal for home and small-scale business that requires broadband speed daily.

Speaking at the ceremony, Jamal Micknas, the managing director of Gamtel, described the day as historic. He said Gamtel over the years has been working tirelessly to regain its lost glory noting that the coming of the 3G services will enable it provide more Internet services in the country.

He posited that these services will contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the country as well as the realisation of the Vision 2020 goals. He then thanked President Jammeh and his entire cabinet for what he described as their immeasurable support in creating an enabling environment for business to thrive in the country.

For his part, Yusupha Kah, the minister of Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration welcomed the new development. He pointed out that these services will avail the users the opportunity to connect to the Internet at fastest speed and is among the products Gamtel is offering to its customers. He described it is another giant leap in the telecommunication sector in the country.

Minister Kah said that the management of Gamtel deemed it necessary to upgrade their network services to their customers. He explained that the upgrading includes a high-speed Internet access; and that the 3G services have different tariffs to meet the diverse customers.

In a statement read on behalf of the vice president and minister of Women's Affairs, Alhaji Cham, the minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure noted that Gamtel, as the leading and first Internet service provider in The Gambia, has paved the way through a level playing field for other service providers to join the Internet market, which has benefited not only Gamtel but the entire nation. "Following the establishment of Gamtel as a government-owned limited liability company, with an authorised share capital of D6 million, there has been a remarkable and significant development in the industry especially with fixed telephone services entirely monopolised by Gamtel," he said.

He also noted that the monopoly at the time coupled with efficient and effective management of services, culminated in the proliferation of projects on fixed lines expansion and improvement. He emphasised that Gamtel being a fixed line provider, finds it very difficult to compete on voice and data effectively, because of these highly competitive services offered by the mobile service. He continued: "Further to these coping strategies, Gamtel in year 2005 established the first ever CDMA network in The Gambia with wireless voice telephony and data services in the form of wireless broadband internet connection.

The CDMA network locally known as 'Jamano' services is a complementary network for Gamtel fixed lines which came purposely to rescue the aging fixed line network of the time. This was needed to minimise the downward trend in revenue, due to the fixed nature of the copper network."

The Communication Minister further went on to state that Gamtel CDMA network like most other GSM operators had 2.5G network and as the need for customers' taste changes, Gamtel did not hesitate to improve on its network to match such customers' needs and expectations, thus an upgrade of the current network of 2.5G to a 3G network with more advanced version of the CDMA system named Released A put in place.

This latest move, according to him, was intended to overcome the millions limitations associated with the previous version called Release, in terms of flexibility, mobility, portability and functionality among other attributes. He also thanked the Gambian leader for his unlimited innovations for the good of all.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Almamy Gassama, the director of Customer Services, and Ndey Sainabou Jeng alias 'Yaay Ministere'. The deputy speaker of the National Assembly, cabinets ministers, other senior government officials and GSM services chiefs were among scores of dignitaries that graced the colourful occasion, which was characterised by musical performances by the Gambia's Kora maestro, Jaliba Kuyateh and his Kumareh Band; Abou and Fafa among other artistes.

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