Gambia, The - Country Commercial Guide
Information and Communications Technology

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data

Last published date: 2022-08-30

Gambia’s telecom market is dominated by the state-owned Gamtel, which retains a monopoly on fixed-line telephony services. There are four mobile networks providing effective competition. The market’s leader is Africell (owned by American), with about 65% market share, while Comium and QCell compete closely for second and third place. Gamtel’s mobile unit Gamcel is by far the smallest operator, with about 10% share. 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. Most service providers in the Gambia have not prioritized investments in network coverage in rural areas. Gambians face immense challenges with internet access due to expensive data. According to the Freedom House, with data from the World Bank, “High cost remains a primary hinderance to internet access in The Gambia, where 48.6 percent of individuals live in poverty”. Data can cost  up to $100 per month for a  high-speed internet connection, which is prohibitively expensive for most of the population.

The regulatory authority for the telecommunication industry is the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency (PURA), which was created in 2001. The government imposes a 40 percent tax on telecommunications companies. The main internet service providers are Gamtel, Africell, Netpage, and QCELL. Internet connectivity into The Gambia is managed by Gamtel, with bandwidth sold to other ISPs.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Currently none of the network operators are providing 5G services. Africell and QCELL are the only network operators currently providing 4G coverages and are both focused on expanding their 4G network nationwide. The Chinese company Huawei currently has all network cables installed for all four network providers.

Importation and management of hardware wireless technology, computer information systems, e-services i.e. e-government systems, servers, printing technologies, audiovisual systems, desktop computers, tablets, and other computer hardware and accessories are among the best leading sub-sector prospects within the Telecommunications sector.

Data Centers: Building data systems synchronization and centralization infrastructure for both public and private sector use. 

Data Analytics software platforms:  For more efficient public sector programming. 

Cloud computing and mapping:  The Gambian government does not have in place any existing backup systems infrastructure, which is also a problem shared by the private sector. Cloud technologies present an affordable failsafe option to disaster recovery, while also presenting opportunities for rolling out e-services in The Gambia.

Market Opportunities

Even with the launch of the ACE cable, there is still scope for additional connections to submarine cables to enhance The Gambia’s connectivity to other parts of the world. This presents opportunities for establishing submarine cable networks in the medium-term. In the short-term, more linkages can be made with mobile money and pay-as-you-go systems that are similar to the integration of eCommerce systems with the electricity payments systems.

Resources

Ministry of Communication, Information & IT | Gambia.com (MOICI)

Gamte

Gamcel

Africell

COMIUM

Qcell