Gambia Telecommunications Company (Gamtel) has officially launched its fibre-optic National Broadband Network in partnership with China’s Huawei, presenting a new fibre connectivity service range ‘for homes, business and enterprises’ at a launch ceremony held yesterday (26 June 2019). Gamtel is offering ‘G Fiber’ direct fibre broadband services including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) – and ‘fibre-to-the-office’ (‘FTTO’) using the same fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure – and also highlighted its ‘fibre-to-the-business’ corporate service capabilities (using the ‘FTTB’ banner usually associated with fibre-to-the-building access networks). The new service range will initially be available in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA).
State-owned Gamtel’s National Broadband Network infrastructure was deployed by Huawei using funding from China Exim-Bank, and was delayed from an original target of December 2018 after Gambian MPs objected to the initial loan structure. The project’s main aims were to bring faster fibre access direct to subscribers whilst making per-MB internet access cheaper. The work involved Huawei installing at least 420km of fibre-optics augmenting 947km initially deployed under the West Africa Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme (WARCIP), incorporating new fibre loops in major urban areas, plus the launch of a data centre.
At its launch event, Gamtel presented new FTTH tariffs for residential subscribers, starting at GMD2,500 (USD50) per month for a 10Mbps (download and upload) connection, ranging up to GMD6,000 for 40Mbps. Home installation including modem purchase costs GMD5,000. For SMEs, the ‘G Fiber FTTO’ monthly tariffs range from 10Mbps (GMD6,000) up to 300Mbps (GMD75,000), with all higher-tier (60Mbps-300Mbps) tariffs labelled as ‘Unlimited’. Corporate packages offer the same speed range as the SME products, priced at GMD8,000 to GMD84,000 per month. Gamtel is offering promotional deals for consumers, SMEs and corporates signing up to fibre, giving extra months free (quantity dependent on length of contract subscribed to).