Local company Giraffe Telecom has been issued with a mobile GSM operational licence by the Gambia Government making it the fifth mobile operator in the country.
Speaking about the licence, Ebrima Sillah, minister of information and communication, said: “I can emphatically confirm that we issued a license for a fifth operator in this country, and it is about necessity.”
According to Mr Sillah, the government had looked at a number of factors from the operational level to regulatory oversight before issuing the licence.
He said after consultations on a usage of spectrum found that almost 75 percent or more of the entire spectrum of the country is in the hands of two operators and sometimes they are not being used.
“So, the spectrum alignment consultancy was meant to ensure that you keep what you pay for and what you use and the rest should return back to the state and ensure it’s reused for other purposes.”
Sillah continued: “Looking at the market structures of GSM companies in this country, almost all of them with exception of Gamtel are majority foreign owned.
“This one when it came before us: one important criteria, we asked who are the owners, what are the majority shareholders and we discovered through the documentation presented to us that between 60 and 70 percent are owned by ordinary Gambians who are doing business in this country.”
The minister added that there was no reason why Gambia should not empower its own people to set up businesses in the GSM mobile sector for money to remain here.
“When you give a license as it is with all the others that are having their current licenses, you have a window to deploy your equipment, test them and then operate.” – Gambiana