Gamtel retakes direct control of sole international voice gateway; drops prices

13 Jul 2017

Gambia’s Ministry of Information & Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) has announced that from 7 July 2017 the government has reverted direct control of the country’s sole international voice gateway to state-owned Gambia Telecommunications Company (Gamtel), having terminated the contract of intermediary company Multimedia Gateway International (MGI), which had been managing the gateway operations on Gamtel’s behalf. The move enables Gamtel to directly collect 100% of international call termination fees from other operators. The MOICI’s statement on 10 July 2017 said: ‘Following the preliminary report of the ICT Taskforce recently instituted by His Excellency The President, Cabinet has decided to terminate the contract between the Government of The Gambia and MGI, to exclusively manage the International Gateway … Gamtel did a successful takeover and now all international calls to and from the Gambia are through the Gamtel gateway.’ The full reason behind the decision was not disclosed, the FOROYAA newspaper writes.

The release also announced an 18% (USD0.10) reduction in the international call termination rate, whilst promising that the government ‘will continue to work with Gamtel and operators to further reduce the cost of communication.’

Gambian president Adama Barrow took office in January 2017, having ousted autocratic former president Yahya Jammeh (now in exile), before appointing a new cabinet of ministers and launching a comprehensive audit of public servants to weed out corruption, with various reform projects subsequently launched, including the above-mentioned ICT Taskforce. TeleGeography notes that the new Gambian administration is negotiating with the IMF, the World Bank, the EU and the African Development Bank on financial support packages to improve stability, with the government committing to measures to reduce the national deficit, such as expenditure caps, debt consolidation, and reform of state-owned enterprises including Gamtel and its mobile subsidiary Gambia Telecommunications Cellular Company (Gamcel).