The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, PURA, has taken an enforcement action against telecoms giant Gamcel for “manipulating” international voice termination rates.
In a notice seen by The Standard, Pura as a result fined Gamcel D250,000 and asked the information minister to suspend its licence for international gateway.
Below is the full notice:
“The Authority wishes to inform the general public that following investigations regarding unfair competition practices by GAMCEL, Enforcement Action has been taken against GAMCEL pertaining to manipulation of International Voice Termination Rates.
It was established that GAMCEL have been charging their International Carriers rates in contravention of the approved national destination charge to The Gambia of US$0.32/minute.
This rate was set by cabinet and enforced by the Authority for the following reasons;
- to minimize unfair competition in the International Gateway Market
- to minimize interconnection fraud in the local market; and
III. to ensure a uniform destination rate for calls into The Gambia.
The Government of The Gambia had also set a revenue sharing mechanism for proceeds relating to international incoming voice calls. To this end, GAMCEL have not fully honoured their outstanding payment obligations as per the approved revenue sharing mechanism approved by Cabinet for International Voice Termination revenue.
Having weighed in the totality of facts surrounding this issue and the deliberate manipulation of rates by GAMCEL, the Authority has carried out enforcement action against GAMCEL as follows;
- To settle pending International Gateway payment obligations to the Government of The Gambia as at 23rd September 2020
totaling D11,473,276.02 (Eleven Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-three Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy-six Dalasi and Two Bututs) on or before 5th October 2020, failure of which, GAMCEL shall pay a fine D200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Dalasi) daily for as long as this contravention continues;
- To pay a fine of GMD D250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dalasi) for failing to comply with the approved termination rate to the detriment of State and creating unfair competition in the International Voice Gateway Market;
- To comply with the termination rate as approved by Cabinet IMMEDIATELY.
- The Authority further recommends to the Honourable Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, in accordance with section 27 of the IC Act 2009, for the suspension of GAMCEL’s International Voice Gateway Licence.
The fine shall become due and payable within fourteen days from the date of receiving this notice from the Authority as provided for in Section 15 (2) of the Enforcement Regulations 2010.”