Gambia’s telecommunication market is by far the most competitive sector, given that the country only has four network operators.
Africell Gambia, the country’s leading operator, holds the largest market share in the sector.
Other operators include Gamcel, which sought a government bailout in 2019 to avoid having to close down operations.
According to the operator, revenue was insufficient to allow for investment in new technologies and network infrastructure; as a result, its services were limited to voice and primary data.
Gamcel’s network reach was also confined to the main towns. Even so, customers experienced severe network congestion. As a result, the telecom group lost market share steadily, with subscribers having fallen 81 per cent in a period of three years.
Comium has also succumbed to significant subscriber losses in recent years due to inadequate network reach and capabilities.
The telecom operator has also faced financial difficulties. In October 2021, the government suspended its licence because of unpaid fees and taxes.
An external investment came to the company’s rescue, and they were able to pay a portion of the debt. However, the company’s position in the market still remains uncertain.
Gambia’s QCell has performed far better than its competitors and has seen its market share increase steadily. In addition, the entity’s licence was the first in the country to include 3G services.
The government recently licensed Giraffe Telecom to provide mobile services. However, the locally owned company currently has no services set up yet, since no spectrum has been allocated to it.
The spectrum will be secured from concessions already made to other Mobile Network Operators that are underused.