The Chronicle Gambia

Confessed SIM Boxer Warns Against Liberalisation of Telecoms Gateway

Under Jammeh regime, he was arrested and tried for causing economic loss to the state through SIM boxing. In 2018, he faced the court on similar charges but he was discharged by the judge. Kebba Macoumba Jallow is now ready to help the government fight against the practice, but warns that liberalising the international telecommunications gateway will make SIM boxing look like nothing.

SIM boxing also known as the interconnect bypass fraud, is a cybercrime. It is the practice of setting-up a device that can take up several SIM cards (a SIM box) and use it to complete international calls it receives from the Internet as voice over IP (VoIP) and in turn serve them to the in-country mobile network subscribers as local traffic. The SIM boxer bypass all international interconnect charges and often undercuts the prices charged by local mobile operators.

At age of 21, Jallow owned a computer company in the US – Macoumba Computers Network. By 1999/2000, he was already building computers and shipping them to The Gambia. In 2004, the multi-talented young man returned to The Gambia, pioneering Wi-Fi, and setting up free Wi-Fi in restaurants when the technology was even limited in the US and other advanced countries in the world.

In the 80s and the 90s, The Gambia telecommunications service provider, Gamtel, was one of the best service providers in Africa. Jallow said when analogue telephones were being used in the Gambia, it was a luxury in the US for anyone to have mobile phones.

Today, the arrow expressed is poised to the implementation of a policy meant to liberalise the operations of the Gambia’s international telecommunications gateway. In practice, it will be knocking out the country’s own operators to bring in private ones. And for Jallow, this isn’t necessary.

“Naturally, The Gambia is not a kind of market whose telecoms market needs to be liberalized. The Internet Service market on the other hand can be liberalised. But Tier 1 telecoms operation should not be liberalized, especially the gateway,” he told The Chronicle.

“It compromises national security, national interest and people’s lives. It does not make any logical sense for this country to liberalise the gateway.”.

When the Barrow government came into office in 2017, the telecoms market system was already bad enough. According to Jallow, the local market shouldn’t have allowed for the number of operators currently available.

“I don’t see any reason why a country like The Gambia should even have more than one mobile operator(s) – at most two. Even bigger economies like Senegal and Guinea Bissau as our closest neighbours do not have more than two operators,” he said, alleging that the current licensed operators are “highly incompetent”, compared to operators in the neighbouring countries which are multinational operators.

The international gateway

Operating the international telecommunications gateway for countries had been a nightmare. It was equally expensive at the time for any African government to manage a gateway. Big companies like AT&T, BT would build earth stations with satellites to transmit countries’ phone calls abroad, or bring them into our country. It was all easier for governments when the internet evolved in the past 20 years.

According to Jallow, small economies like The Gambia had “small brief case companies coming to their markets, and just gamble us” in this international gateway management systems. “They have manipulated us; we have lost a lot of revenue in this international gateway business and in mobile phone operations thanks to such operators.

He accused private companies of manipulating the sector, and controlling almost 95 per cent after falling from the market leader position. The Gambian shareholders in these companies are even insignificant, resulting to serious financial flows out of the economy. Gamtel only controls 5 per cent right now on local voice call market shares.

“This means that the main voice market right now for Gamtel is in the international gateway. If that is also taken away from Gamtel, it will just simply close down operations,” Jallow warned.

Taking shares from Gamcel

When asked how the national GSM operator, Gamcle, lost market dominance to private operators like Africell and Qcell, Jallow drew a scenario: “If you give license to a company that cares about nothing but profit to compete against a national company that serves a different purpose, the unfair competition begins from there.”

“A private company that began operations with used Alcatel equipment from South Africa, and a national company that began with brand new Alcatel equipment from France cannot share the same edge in competition. Gamcel began with brand new ones,” Jallow said.

“Most of these private operators also do not conform to the standards of telecommunications… there are hundreds, if not thousands of billboards across the country, asking consumers to subscribe for D3 in order to win few millions. What type of business does that? Is that promotions or lottery? Do their licenses allow them to operate like casinos or lotto?”

Jallow, who considers himself as a pioneer of Wi-Fi technology not just in Africa but around the world, is today an entrepreneur in the ICT sector; in VOIP (voice over internet protocol) technology, and Wi-Fi technology. He is both a bitcoin innovator an investor, and operates in block chain.

Jallow also operates VOIP interconnect around the world, and engaged into international carrier business. He alleged that “some fraudulent practices” in the Gambian markets are usually left unchecked, and they put the national operator at a big disadvantage.”

He now wants to help the government and the country to achieve “maximum results” from that telecommunications gateway, including monitoring and fraud management systems across the board; the billing system software that MGI removed from Gamcel following the termination of their contract and thereby crippling their operations.

Wi-Fi in Gambia

“The first Wi-Fi I set up in The Gambia was at Africell. They had problems with cabling structures inside the building and I thought that Wi-Fi was the solution….and it fitted well. That was the first Wi-Fi in The Gambia,” Jallow explained.

He continued: “As a matter of fact, around 2004/2005, there were no free Wi-Fi in restaurants even around the world. La Parisene was the first restaurant with free Wi-Fi, from Banjul to Dakar or all around Africa or the world. Even the United States did not have a free Wi-Fi in restaurants when I installed one for LP.”

How SIM boxing works ©Busiweek

Dragged to court for SIM boxing

SIM boxing is usually perceived as a crime in The Gambia, but for Jallow, it’s not a crime.

Arrested by the NIA and arraigned before a court twice for the act, he was never convicted for the practice and a Judge concluded that he must never be arrested for the perceived crime again. The prosecutors in The Gambia were unable to prove a case against him in all instances.

“Nobody knows SIM boxing more than me,” Jallow said.

He prefers SIM boxer to operate freely, to having private telecoms operators freely operating the country’s international gateway at the expense of national security and interest.

“Liberalisation will be the biggest loss to the country while we are preoccupied with chasing after small SIM boxers,” he argued.

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  1. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    I find it necessary to clarify some of your opinions not based on facts, a simbox technically known as a gsm/voip gateway is part of VOIP operations and not a cybercrime nor is it a a threat to cybersecurity as it is not an unauthorized entry of a computer system, which computer system does a simbox enter without authorization? they simply make calls from mobile operator SIM cards and they can get detected and blocked. In Gambia a simbox operation is illegal on the mobile operators side since it is under there licenses not to allow simboxes to operator and the SIM cards (Subscriber Indentity Modules) and do not need a separate license to operate or make calls making it completely legal in Gambia on the VOIP operators side, generally to make a simbox illegal or a crime is the most difficult task please refer to Daniel Mahoney and OFCOM UK and use the history of this particular case as your reference, as telecommunications operators have greatly succeeded of defaming characters of GSM/VOIP operators as that I what I would call it as in the standard of unlicensed VOIP operations, if email wasn’t free and wifi in the beginning they would have falsely called them illega, free wifi causing an economic loss of 80% to mobile operations, this where we come in with paid Wi-Fi to minimize the disruption, technology disruption is real and they are legal and not crimes, incompetent operators and economies resort to labeling them such. What can mostly be done with GSM VOIP operations is either to reduce rates and make it insignificant which is a greater loss to government I call it a loss loss battle or use sophiscated and robust simbox detecting solutions to block them and make it less exciting, but arresting them and putting false charges on them does not help as we are innocent people with rights of humanity. I think Gambia should set the pace and standardss by respecting rights of humans. Like I said I know simboxing but I know the Telecommunitions and Intfirnatiom technology and it’s laws most and I believe more than any Gambian or even possibly African, don’t take me to bragging, but it is my duty also a noble citizen of this world to soeak the truth and nothing but to truth so help me GOD. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

  2. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says
    1. Protech-gmb says

      I know that most Gambians will not like to even comment on your post to discourage such nonsense, but I just could not resist. You are truly humuliating yourself by trying to be maybe famous at something you really have little to no knowledge in. Bragging about something like setting up a hotel wifi hotspot is definitely rock bottom a childs play. I can give you that the article was very funny and it made me laugh. I am sorry, but you are not tech savvy at all and mostly clueless. Simboxing is tech kiddies play now which requires no special technical knowledge to setup one.
      Moreover, for you as a “tech kiddy” criminal you should be in jail now and not pretending to be a patriot. You are not fooling anyone. For your information, liberalizing the gateway is way to stop fraudsters like you for taking advantage of easy free public knowledge to steal from thier national resources.
      Moreover, I will advice you to go find a restaurant job or maybe something also as respectable that you can comprehend and flourish in, but please stop polluting this industry with nonsense. We need knowledgeable technical professionals to make meaningful contributions.

  3. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    You are either stupid, jealous or wicked.

  4. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    And if you don’t have a solution to an existing and a real problem I urge you reserve your stupid comments. The fact is ichallenge you one to one on industry telecom facts and industry knowledge especially VOIP go and talk to telecom engineers in the industry ask them about me and get back to me, I think you comment fits your own discription, where you not the one who attempted to terminate calls on E1 circuits and was arrested by the telecommunications fraud task force Mr. Sillah, right? A man who is upto know good just going around town ease dropping on my concepts and ideas and always trying to steal them, is this not you? I am not on your level, come and fix my CCTV is that what you call tech?

    1. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

      You will be sorry about your own comment. You can come fix my CCTV copy and I will show you proof that you are nothing but a copy cat. I have my first IBM Compatible PC at the age of 9 abd I am son of the Great Managing Director of Gambia Produce Market Board that defunct when Jawara tried him by retiring him early. Who are you? Where you privileged to have a computer at 9? Jeaousy will kill some people.

  5. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    Lol… I challenge you competency in IT and Telecom including IT and Telecoms Law. Let’s have one on one. My number is 3626662 call me or post your number here.

    1. Protech-gmb says

      No thank you, you have already shown your competency by posting your private phone number on a public website. Can i also have your identification number to affirm it is really you. Good luck with that my brother.

      1. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

        No no no. I know you dare not meet and challenge me, I will embarrass you to the ground. You just proved your stupidity in public what is wrong with publishing a telephone number or I guess back in the days you did not have a phone line in your home and a telephone directory, who said my mobile number is private anyone is free to reach me I am an entrepreneur. So you feel too big to publish your stupid number as small as you are.? What is the relation of a mobile number and an ID card? Where does ID card fit in this topic, seriously you are a derailing factor to developement. . Lol… Some people are embarrassingly funny and non functional. I will give you a simple test question in cybersecurity, what is LI? And don’t Google it? If you want to be innovative in this ever evolving industry you need to know cybersecurity. But you seat here talking rubbish whilst an entire country has a major security breach in IT and Telecoms go and learn firewalling and lawful interception and try and contribute to the economic development of Gambia, telecom can develope this whole country even more than Oil. If I am given an opportunity GAMTEL and GAMCEL will be the first Telecommunitions companies publicly owned by government to be on a decentralized ledger. Let’s see if Gambia is lucky or will listen to non progressive fools like you.

    2. Edward Damina says

      Hello Kebba
      Your private contact address is right?
      I need check from you.

  6. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    With you little or zero industry knowledge. Lay people may think you make a point
    , whilst experts have and see a positive outlook and a brighter future. Danga am complex.

  7. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    As a matter of fact go and help government.

  8. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    And you deliberately moved into my natural inhabitant Fajara so you can spy on me, I will tell you I know all you are doing. And mind you that you are renting here, Hatib is a no nonsense man, he will soon evict you…. Lol.

  9. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    You have no respect and you are a big insult to the industry. My geniusness and intelligence doubts no one.

  10. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    Stupid fool learn and use the only brain that God gave you

  11. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    Edward Damina, sometimes silence is your best bet, you are more stupid than Sillah PoorTech

  12. Edward Damina says

    OK , Let’s see of your best option.

  13. Edward Damina says

    So still silence ?
    This is your company?

  14. Edward Damina says

    Hello Kebba
    What are you doing now?

  15. Edward Damina says

    Hello Kebba
    So your service is fake or real?
    Please give me answer about it.

  16. Kebba Macoumba Jallow says

    Further clarifications that i am not a confessed sim boxer nor a simboxer, but an internet entreprenuer in voip and wifi.

    We operate our own voip systems and some of them include GSM Gateways as part of our voip operations that interface with our IP PBXs and SIP Servers that require no authorization from any regulator in the world to make phone calls with local calling facilities strictly an internet business.

    We have never byspassed any international gateway and we generate our own calls via our in house virtual call center app.

    As a matter of fact a GSM Gateway is not illegal on any side, be it the mobile operator or the voip operator. And regulators around the world have started to stop blocking SIM Cards on GSM Gateways and mobile operators. As they are starting to know that the traffic beingsent over GSM Gateways are purely VOIP, PBX and call center traffic and not international gateway traffic.

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