Gambia’s telecom market is dominated by the incumbent telco Gamtel, which retains a monopoly on fixed-line telephony services. There are four mobile networks providing effective competition. The market leader is Africell, with about 60% market share, while Comium and QCell compete closely for second and third place. Gamtel’s mobile unit Gamcel is by far the smallest operator, having suffered from underinvestment in recent years. 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.
Although the incumbent has a relatively well-developed national fibre backbone network, low fixed-line penetration has hindered internet usage. There are only three licensed ISPs, which are small operators serving local areas, and so competition is minimal. The government has embarked on a National Broadband Network program aimed at closing the digital divide affecting many parts of the country. Gamtel launched services based on this network in late 2019, though on a limited scale.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.
Gambia Telecommunications (Gamtel), Gamcel, Africell, Comium, QCell, Globacom, Thuraya, GamNet, QuantumNet, Netpage, Airtip
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Ken Cregan, Tele-Computercations Pty Ltd
BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.
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