By Muhammed S. Bah
Subject to approval, Senegalese telecommunication giant Sonatel, is set to enter the Gambian market.
Sonatel has announced in a press release that it has entered into an agreement for the acquisition of 91.6% of the share capital of XOOM Wireless. The agreements obtained however, are said to be subject to approval by Gambian authorities.
XOOM Wireless is said to hold an Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence in the Gambia, and offers a full spectrum of high-speed wireless packages including VOIP and other hosting services in the country.
According to the Sonatel press release, the acquisition is said to be carried out in partnership with Teranga Capital, which will hold a minority stake in the Company and that through this acquisition, Sonatel will strengthen its leading position in the telecommunication sector in West Africa.
The agreements obtained are subject to approval by the Gambian authorities. The process is still ongoing according to Kalifa Faal from XOOM Wireless. He further disclosed that they are given deliverables to submit to the Government through the regulatory body PURA and the Ministry of Information and Communication. He said they are almost ready with the deliverables which he said are expected to be submitted to the said authorities for final approval.
Mr. Faal in his opinion claims that this project will boost Gambia’s internet capacity, and will enhance quality, access and will be cheaper. He said this will bring up a vibrant competing market in the internet sector which is good for the country.
He cited that Gambians over the years have been struggling with access and affordable internet.
In addition to its market share in Senegal, growth operations have allowed Sonatel to market shares in four countries: Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.
The Sonatel Group offers global telecommunication solutions in the areas of fixed telephony, mobile, internet, television, mobile money and data service to individuals and businesses.
Teranga Capital is an impact Investment Company dedicated to financing and supporting of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, with high growth potential in Senegal and the Gambia. Its objective is to provide an innovative solution to meet the financing needs of these Companies between 50 and 300 million CFA.
Teranga Capital provides equity financing and becomes a minority shareholder of SMEs over a time horizon of five years.