People are seen moving across the street in Banjul, Gambia January 17, 2017 REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

MGI shuts down Gambia national GSM operator’s billing system

Gamcel customers are unable to make cross network calls following the close down of its billing system by the Multimedia Gateway Internationa, a Swiss-based company.

Gamcel’s parent company, the state-owned company, GAMTEL last month terminated its international calling gateway contract with MGI, angering the telecom biller.

MGI, which also outsources Gamcel’s billing system to India-registered Red Née, in protest has withdrawn its system engineers, who have reportedly return to India.

Gamcel customers, however, are enjoying free Gamcel to Gamcel calls, and free internet browsing due to the billing system shutdown.

Gamcel stands to lose millions from the glitch that started on Wednesday amid a financial crisis in state enterprises, which the state is frantically trying to neutralize.

Gambian authorities terminated the international calling gateway contract with MGI as its first step towards securing cheaper international calling fees and longer talk times for its citizens.

Gambians in the Diaspora have been paying more for international calling since 2008 compared to its neighbors Nigeria and Senegal.

The new government accused the ex-regime leader of inflating termination rates and swindling millions from the funds generated.

While many countries regulate termination charges, the absence of competition in The Gambia gave the former government the power to abuse the market.

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