By Kebba Secka
The Gambia’s National GSM Operator, GAMCEL- a subsidiary company of the Gambia Telecommunications company (GAMTEL)- has suffered financial losses of about 8 million dalasi following a technical breakdown, the company’s customer care director, Sarjo Khan, told Foroyaa.
The breakdown, which lasted for 10 days, saw the company incurring financial losses of about D800, 000 daily.
“I can approximate that on [a] daily basis, we lost about seven to eight hundred thousand dalasi (D700, 000-800, 000) and this was about ten days),” he disclosed in a telephone interview on Tuesday September 28th 2021.
Director Khan said the thunder and lightning affected the billing system at Abuko, West Coast Region. This, he said, has also affected cross network calling within their customers.
The billing system enables the company to set charges for the customer services.
According to Mr Khan, this amount can’t be recovered, saying when the incident occurred and nothing could be done, customers were affected.
He said when buying Gamcel credit was not possible due to the failure of the billing system’, customers were maintained by free calls within themselves. This was to prevent them from switching to other networks.
He said the part that was brought into the country was a backup (secondary equipment) that was earlier sent to its manufacturers (New Zealand) for repairing and maintenance. The affected part was brought from New Zealand.
Speaking further, Khan said the current affected billing equipment will be sent to its manufacturers in New Zealand for repair, without specifying its cost.
Asked whether that is sustainable, the director said plans are underway to make it more sustainable. Speaking on the low network coverage, he said they would be rolling out a project in the provinces soon.
According to him, the equipment to facilitate effective national network coverage will arrive into the country soon and will be installed in their various stations across the country.
Commenting on the management’s responsive action to the damage, Khan said immediately the part arrived into the country, it was rushed to the site for reconfiguration to resume normal service.
Reacting also on the protective measures against the recurrence of similar situation, Khan said all the equipment were audited and assessed before and during the rainy season.
“But this is a natural cause,” he said.
Meanwhile, the customer care director apologized to the customers for any inconvenience caused during the aforesaid period.