Politics

95 Per Cent Fijians Access Mobile Internet 3G, 4G, 4G+

Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum revealed this in Parliament yesterday while speaking on government’s efforts to expand connectivity to Fiji’s unconnected regions.
17 Aug 2021 11:21
95 Per Cent Fijians Access Mobile Internet 3G, 4G, 4G+
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at Parliament on August 16, 2021. Photo: Office of the PM

Ninety-five per cent of all Fijians, which is 817,425 Fijian citizens, now have access to mobile internet connectivity, across 3G, 4G, and 4G+ networks.

Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum revealed this in Parliament yesterday while speaking on government’s efforts to expand connectivity to Fiji’s unconnected regions.

This, he said, is significantly higher than the 70 per cent mobile internet coverage data reported in other Pacific Island nations.

“It has been said that digital connectivity is the greatest equaliser, but our philosophy has also been that if we do not have connectivity for everyone, it will be the greatest disequaliser,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Prior to 2007, the telecommunications sector was an exclusive sector with only three companies holding exclusive licenses over a long-term period and were monopolies in their line of business.

Vodafone provided mobile phone services, TFL provided landline services and FINTEL provided international gateway services.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said no new telecommunications company could enter the Fijian market, there was no competition and pricing seemed to be fixed.

“This ultimately stifled innovation and meant less choices for Fijians. It meant an exorbitant cost to Fijians. We had to change that. And we did,” he said.

To address the issue, a comprehensive reform of the telecommunications sector was done through the World Bank which saw the introduction of the new 2008 Telecommunications Act and executed the Radisson Accord.

“Before the deregulation of the sector, the peak period cost of mobile phones was 99 cents per minute, today it is 20 cents per minute.”

Government also introduced a fair and transparent process of allocating spectrum through a tender bidding process which allowed for an open and fair competitive playing field for all the operators to obtain spectrum.

Recently, he stated Vodafone Fiji in its digital Wallet M-PAiSA QR Pay recorded a 2000 per cent growth in the last 12 months compared to a year ago.

The M-PAiSA digital payment platform now processes over $100million in transactions every month, amounting to $1.2 billion every year.

“The upsurge in the adoption of digital technology and the push toward interactions and economic activity into online spaces has seen a 300 per cent surge post-COVID, and we expect that trend to continue,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“From the 95 per cent of Fijians that have mobile and internet connectivity, the remaining 5 per cent of Fijians who are not connected – are located in isolated locations that are widely scattered or on the fringes of the current connectivity coverage map – the black and brown spots.”

Edited by Losirene Lacanivalu

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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