Jun 18, 2008, 6:26 AM
In what could be described as a giant leap in the country's communication sector, the national telecommunications company, Gamtel, Wednesday unveiled its 3G products and services at a ceremony held in Banjul.
The 3G products, namely 3G Express USB Stick, 3G Nafaa USB Modem and 3G Bantaba + Express, all wireless technology for internet connectivity, are expected to give users the opportunity to connect to the internet at higher data speed.
In a statement delivered on her behalf at the launching ceremony, the Vice President and Minister of Women's Affairs stated that Gamtel, as the leading and first Internet Service Provider in The Gambia, has paved the way through a level playing field for other service providers to join the internet market, which has benefited not only Gamtel but also the entire nation.
"This has inculcated positive change in the lives of people and revolutionised the way we work and do business transactions within The Gambia and with the rest of the world," she said.
According to Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy, following the establishment of Gamtel as a government owned limited liability company, with an authorised share capital of D60 million, there has been a remarkable and significant development in the industry, especially with fixed telephone service, entirely monopolised by Gamtel.
She noted that as telecommunication evolves, the need to diversify became eminent as voice telephony was being virtually taken over by GSM networks due to their accessibility and mobility. "Gamtel, being a fixed line provider, finds it very difficult to compete on voice and data effectively, because of these highly competitive services offered by the mobile service," she further stated.
For his part, Minister Yusupha Kah, who represented the minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology, described the move as a giant leap in the communication sector as "internet is part of our daily life, which the 3G has come to complement in order to make our work easier, faster and more efficient".
"The management of Gamtel deemed it necessary to embark on such a project in upgrading the CDMA network from 2G to 3G in order to meet customer’s demands and expectations in the global internet market," he said.
This upgrading, he says, includes a high speed internet access through a gateway backbone. "This is warranted by the fact that internet access is part of our daily life and is complementing the efforts of President Jammeh in the realization of Vision 2020," he said, adding: "Gamtel is also in the process of replacing its obsolete network infrastructure with the Next Generation Network (NGN), which will allow customers to have bundled services."
He further revealed that the other projects Gamtel has embarked on include the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine fibre optic cable, which will provide direct connection to the rest of the world through our own landing station.
These, he notes, are projects which when completed will make Gamtel one of the leading telecommunications giants in Africa and will enable Gamtel to provide its customers with many more services at affordable prices.
Also speaking at the launching, Jamal Micknas, the managing director of Gamtel, described the day as historic.
According to Mr Micknas, Gamtel, over the years, has been working tirelessly to regain its lost glory, but the coming of the 3G services will enable it to provide more Internet services in the country.
"These services will contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the country as well as the realisation of the Vision 2020 goals," he said.