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Wednesday, Jun 20th

Skype, Viber and online dating ‘illegal’ in Gambia

WestAfrica

Gambia’s telecommunications watchdog is putting its foot down on public usage of online dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offerings such as Skype and Viber.

The tiny West African nation’s ‘Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’ (PURA) has warned the general public about using these online services in the country.

Use of these services in the country, which has a population of just over 1.7 million people, is ‘illegal’, says PURA.

“It has come to its notice that there are companies and/or individuals operating through internet Cafes and offering dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a commercially available service to the public in The Gambia. Therefore, all are hereby informed that such practices are not authorised,” a statement from the authority has said.

“Furthermore, PURA wishes to make it abundantly clear that the offering of ‘International and National Calling Services’ within internet cafes using VoIP services (Viber, Skype, etc) is strictly prohibited,” the authority has added.

This statement from the authority brings into focus that VoIP services are viewed by officials in the country as a threat to traditional calling services.

“Anyone who is engaged in this activity is depriving the country of the much needed revenue from International and National calls, required for the development of The Gambia,” PURA has further explained.

Gambia, though, has a 100% mobile penetration rate, according to BuddeComm research. Telecommunications operators in the country include the likes of Gamtel, Africell and Comium.

PURA also called upon the public to report such incidences to them “in a bid to protect our national interest”.

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