Wednesday, 8 August 2012 8:53 AM

Bemobile Undertakes Major Upgrade

The Solomon Islands' second mobile service provider bemobile has confirmed that it is in the middle of undertaking a multi-million dollar upgrade to improve its network in the country.

The plans were revealed by manager Niall Downey during a media tour of the cellco's Tasahe facility last Friday, and the work will coincide with the company's second anniversary later this month. The cellco currently has 51 towers around the country, with work now underway to double that figure to around 100.

Confirming earlier reports that bemobile had recently sourced excess satellite capacity from the Marshall Islands National Telecommunications Authority (NTA), Downey said: 'There are exciting times ahead for this country given the changes that are currently being undertaken by the company to improve the services'.

Following the Marshall Islands deal, bemobile is also concentrating on upgrading its existing satellite dish infrastructure, with 7.5 metre-wide dishes being installed at the company's base in Tasahe, as well as West Honiara, Auki in the Malaita Province and Munda in the Western province. These new dishes replace the old 4.5 metre dishes which will now be reallocated to the smaller islands.

bemobile currently has a subscriber base of around 100,000, and coverage of around 60% of the Solomon Islands. The current expansion plans will allow it to increase its population coverage to around 80%, and further down the line the company hopes to extend its services to more isolated islands such as Lord Howe, Sikiana (formerly the Stewart Islands) and the far eastern Outer islands.