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Gambia’s ISP sector includes four players: QuantumNet, Gamtel’s ISP (which is not a separate company), Netpage and Airtip. Overall there are around 5,000 dial-up subscribers, with the majority being split almost evenly between QuantumNet and Gamtel.

Two years ago QuantumNet invested US$2 million in a network of 16 base stations (one in each of Gambia’s major towns) with 40 metre antennas. This gives it a backhaul relay capacity of 54 mbps, enabling it to avoid using Gamtel’s network for its customers except at the international gateway level.

It has just started using this network to offer wireless broadband with 128k download speeds: US$100 a month for home users (US$650 for installation) and US$250 a month for corporate users. Contention rates are 1:10 for corporates and 1:25 for home users.

On this basis, it has attracted just over 100 customers and believes that the long-term potential might be as high as 10,000 customers, somewhere between 5-10% of all mobile customers, particularly with a voice offer. The service is delivered to outlying areas of the country like Yundum and Brufut.

With the legalisation of VoIP when the new Act is in place, it plans to offer a VoIP over broadband service that will cut international prices by 60%. Current per minute call cost via Gamtel to Washington DC is 70 cents a minute so there’s plenty of arbitrage space between that and the wholesale price of 2 cents a minute.