Tuesday, 14 October 2008 5:18 PM

Mobile Phones in Rural Area

Editor,

It is good to hear that telecommunication to rural areas has improved with the set up of GSM Breeze in provincial capitals and other areas. This should have been done years ago to enable people from villages to communicate with each other and urban areas. Is this happening now because Digicel is looming as a competitor?

The only problems that need to be addressed include the ability of the system to cope with the amount of traffic to be generated and the cost of calls.

The system must allow for calls to be routed and not to be told that "your call cannot be connected as there is a congestion". The promotion by Telekom at the end of 2007 with cheap call after hours did not help at all. People got frustrated during that period as they could not be connected. Is this problem addressed in the present development?

Keep the costs down to encourage more customers and more air time. It is either low volume and high costs or high volume and low cost to achieve the same level of profitability. Digicel's set up in PNG can testify for this as more people are joining than with the old establishment.

Perhaps the contributors from Fiji can provide some insight into the situation there since the entry of Digicel in terms of communication and costs compared to pre-October 2008.

Mobile phones and SIM cards sold by Solomon Telekom cost five to six times more than what they cost in other countires. How do they expect low income earners to join as clients when the accessories are out of their reach? What does Digicel do best? They sell mobile phones and SIM cards cheaply and recoup their money in the long term through more customers making more calls at cheaper cost. It is like this, for example: 1,000 customers paying for a call at $1.00 will generate $1,000.00 but 4,000 customers making calls at $0.25 will also generate the same amount of revenue ($1,000.00). Except that customers will make more calls at $0.25 and generate more income to the service provider than paying $1.00 per call or minute as people will think twice before making calls.

May be this is too simplistic for Solomon Telekom but I hope they get the message and try to keep and attract clients before the inevitable entry of Digicel into the market and the 'war'.

Meanwhile, power to the people.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Albert Wata and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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