Gambian mobile operator QCell has launched the country’s first commercial 5G service, initially in five selected locations, offering high speed connectivity for compatible fixed and mobile device users. On its website QCell confirms 5G is live in Banjul, Kairaba Avenue, Bakau-Fajara, Senegambia and the Brusubi Turntable square, enabling data speeds to increase ‘up to 100 times’ compared to its 4G LTE network, with smartphones from manufacturers including Apple, Huawei and Techno already supported on the 5G network, while the operator says it is working with more vendors to increase the range of supported devices. The website adds that 5G fixed broadband services for companies/institutions and homes are available using CPE (customer premises equipment) or Mi-Fi devices, subject to a survey of the premises to confirm coverage. To access 5G mobile services, customers must request 5G activation and sign the User Acceptance Form at a QCell Customer Care Outlet.

At QCell’s launch ceremony, Alieu Ngum, chairman of the Gambian Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), noted that 5G peak data upload and download speeds of ‘over 10Gbps’ were possible, while 5G networks could support ‘millions’ of devices per square kilometre. As reported by Gambian newspaper The Point, officials at the event also highlighted that 5G’s higher bandwidth gave advantages including superior quality of mobile internet connections, even in crowded locations, allowing users to stream video, share content, post to social media in real-time, experience console-quality gaming on the move and work online in public settings, without the slowdowns associated with older-generation networks. Liu Zemin, general manager of Huawei West Africa, QCell’s technology partner, added 5G will help ‘promote the development of the digital economy and accelerate digital transformation across the industry.’

QCell CEO Muhammed Jah declared: ‘In demonstrating in the best possible way that our motto “we innovate, others follow,” is more than a slogan, I offer you QCell’s 5G network, with humility, hope and joy. Welcome to the future, the future is now.’

Note that Gambian president Adama Barrow claimed at the launch ceremony that his was the first country in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to launch 5G, but as previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, ECOWAS member Nigeria saw the launch of MTN’s 5G mobile network in September 2022 which was expanded to 13 cities by May 2023.

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