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Comium boss speaks on company’s Gambia vision

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By Lamin Cham

Walk in any Comium outlet and you would see a buzz as people queue to either buy credit or get sim cards to enjoy the resurgent and expanding affordable connectivity the company and its global partners have brought about in the last two years.

Backed up by global telecommunication technology leaders Monty Mobile, Comium’s remarkable comeback has not only revolutionised the industry but also forced the market to be more affordable to the Gambian people.

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According to Comium- Gambia Chief Executive Officer, Marwan Khoury, the company considers Gambia as a gateway into Africa. He said Comium is as Gambian as can be “because we continually bringing ourselves and the people closer through the provision of better, transparent and fair way of business that have won the hearts of the people as can be evidenced by testimonies in social media.”

Marwan said Comium’s expansion in the country is ongoing in accordance with the overall goal that was set clearly by the Chairman of Monty Holding, Mr. Mountasser Hachem, during a recent visit to The Gambia. Mr. Hachem promised that every Gambian will have the opportunity to access internet through Comium national coverage network anywhere in the country.

“Our Commercial Director Sarjo Khan and his team are working very hard on this.  We have realised that for ease of application services such as financial, there must first be good connectivity,” he said.

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“We know we are already well positioned in the market, and we will continue our expansion plan as fast as possible. We already have some 18 outlets and showrooms and many more are coming this year including the airport and also, we have many partners and dealers to make it very easy for people to have access to Comium products and services. We strive to be as close as possible to our customers,” Marwan said.

He said the unveiling of the Comium eWallet, ComCach as the slogan says “kalpeh bi gen” will make it easy for customers to do everything in terms of financial transaction on both GSM and non-GSM services from the comfort of their homes. “The industry is moving into digital distribution and less and less on physical distribution by dealers and sub-dealers,” he said.

Mr Khoury further disclosed that Comium has an extensive variety of connectivity whether directly from 4G+ Network or 4G ISP, suitable for homes, institutions like banks, government offices, NGOs, businesses etc.

“We invested heavily on our transmission for backhauling on both Gamtel fiber optics as well as microwave technology for better network performance.

We also have the Gambia’s first 5G ready native cloud utilizing the latest technology. We have advantage in this as our current network is built for the next ten years,” Marwan said.

According to him, the operational model has changed, and such operators are not making as much as they used to make before, and this is mostly driven by higher cost of equipment and operations.

“Also, there is continuous request from stakeholders, regulator and of course government in order to bring the price down,” he observed.

Marwan said this means that operators need to expand in different ways be able to tap in different vertical segments to make a difference. “Also, operators need to align with government’s digital transformation because as operators we have a pivotal role in driving digital transformations in any given country.”

He said the trend in the industry is moving into a merge between connectivity, Fintech and application services to address various vertical segments whether in agriculture, transportation, healthcare, education, oil &gas industry, governmental or any private sectors.

“Mobile operators are well positioned to play this role and Comium and through its parent Monty Holding is well positioned to fulfill this role. Fintech, financial technology, is a key driver toward digital transformation as it acts like an umbrella serving all business and financial transactions needs,” he said.

Sarjo Khan, commercial director, said Comium expansion is in high gear with the continuous installation of new sites to ensure customers get good and adequate coverage in their respective communities, towns and regions.

“The demand for Comium services both from individual and corporate level has surged and keeps coming on daily basis. This is why the extension and expansion of network coverage, capacity and availability is not only in the Greater Banjul Area but also in the province or rural areas where most of us hailed from. We are very hopeful that by the end of the year, a significant area would have been covered in addition to the already existing coverage in the rural Gambia,” he said. “Comium will soon be introducing additional value-added service and customer support service tools like Mycomium app in the form of self-care portal, credit borrowing called Lebalma service among others.

With a 360o customer service delivery through all channels ranging from call center, digital and social media, omnichannel and WhatsApp, subscribers are assured of a timely and adequate response to all their enquires and concerns.”

Mr. Khoury reaffirmed Comium’s commitment to providing the best services at affordable pricing to its customers.  “Comium will continue enhancing its network coverage along with capacity as the demand for its data service and other related products and services continue to rise.”

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