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Gambia, Senegal discuss border coordination of radio, GSM frequencies

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By Tabora Bojang

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority hosted a bilateral meeting with the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts of Senegal (ARTP) to enhance coordination of telecommunication sector development and frequency usages across the borders.

The meeting aimed to strengthen cooperation between the two neighbouring organisations and avail opportunities for telecommunication operators in Gambia and Senegal to negotiate equitable preferential Broadcast Control Channel (BCCH) and Traffic Control Channel (TCH) frequencies to minimise harmful interference along border areas.

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Pura director general Yusupha M Jobe said the bilateral meeting is part of recommendations of the International Telecommunications Union ITU for its members and neighbours to meet periodically and coordinate and harmonise spectrum resources to ensure efficient delivery of services to customers free from interference especially those along border areas.

“This workshop will avail operators between Senegal and Gambia the opportunity to network, share experiences, identify successes and or challenges and chart a way forward for closer collaboration in the future to improve quality of service delivery to their esteemed customers,” DG Jobe said at the opening ceremony Wednesday. 

He called for close collaborations to enhance both parties’ regulatory efforts and improve the landscape of their telecommunication regimes to harness the potentials of the ICT, transform economies, improve standards and service delivery.

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“There is also a need to constantly review spectrum management frameworks to facilitate the realisation of broadband goals and increase access and usage to ICT,” he said.

A representative of the director general of the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts of Senegal, Abdoul Karim Sall, said one of the characteristics of frequencies in their wide usage of sound broadcasting to telephony mobile or electronic communications, is that they do not stop at the borders despite each country retaining sovereign right to use and operate services.

“Usage of the same frequencies on either side of borders if uncoordinated will create harmful interference to services concerned. As a result, the beneficiary populations requesting the said services will either not have access to them or even if they do it will be at reduced quality,” he added.

He said it is prudent for Gambia and Senegal to collaborate in this regard for the betterment of their respective citizens.

“This meeting is along the same lines,” he stated.

While reiterating his gratitude to the Gambian authorities, the director general of ARTP, encouraged all participants in the meeting in particular the Senegalese operators and their Gambian brothers, to spare no effort, to find profitable sharing agreements for our two brotherly countries and only benefit of Gambian and Senegalese citizens at the borders,” Bodian averred.

Modou Bah who represented the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, maintained that coordination is essential for public safety organisations as they rely on radio communication networks to support critical operations such as emergency response and disaster management.

According to him, the need for coordination is not only limited to public safety but other sectors including transportation, broadcasting, and wireless services.

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