Customers in and around Gizo and Noro should expect marked improvement in their mobile service reception in recent days.

The improvement in mobile service coverage followed successful completion of equipment transfer to two new 50 meters communication towers at Noro and Gizo.

For Noro customers, communities in previously mobile shadow areas where mobile reception was marginal or none at all should now be able to make and receive mobile calls.

Joe Entrikin of Zipolo Habu Resort at Lola Island in Vonavona lagoon confirmed that his guests can now make calls anywhere at the resort.

"Previously, we can only make or receive mobile calls at the Jetty or paddle out to sea a bit, but now my guests can make calls right at the Bar while enjoying their cold drinks," said Joe.

Zipolo Habu resort, commonly known as Lola resort, was one of those spots situated at the marginal fringe of the old Noro mobile signal coverage. That is now a thing of the past as signal from the new Noro 50 meter tower sweeps over Lola and beyond, covering a good part of Vonavona lagoon not previously covered.

Back at Gizo on Saturday 14th March, with the last bolts and nuts screwed on and all antennas and feeder cables completed, Paul Pusau, the Telekom Jah Mountain Project Manager, signaled for the GSM team to carry on with their part of work. With the flick of a switch, the mobile transmitters were turned on, feeding three massive GSM sector antennas at the tip of the 50 meters tower with mobile signal that swept over Gizo town and way beyond.

With the new Gizo Three-sector antenna mobile transmission setup, communities in Gizo, Ranongga, Simbo, Vella, Rarumana and Kolobangara are expected to receive much better mobile signals, with new coverage areas achieved.

The Telekom 50 meters tower project at Gizo & Noro was aimed at improving mobile coverage, provide for better line-of-sight links to Noro and Munda for standard telephony and data needs as well as introduce free-to-air television.

Provisioning works for Television at Gizo was also completed on Saturday 14th March; however, Television transmission was not turned on due to delays by S.I.E.A to provide mains electricity lines to the new Jah Mountain tower.

S.I.E.A Gizo officers have indicated that a plan for a new major power-line infrastructure is in place for the Gizo tophill area, with works expected to be completed in 3 to 4 months time. In the meantime, Telekom will find other alternative sustainable ways to ensure constant always-on electricity power is supplied so that Gizo and surrounding communities can also enjoy free Television similar to viewers in Honiara and Auki.

Also in other Telekom developments, the improvement in mobile coverage at Noro and Gizo will enable Gizo Telekom to carry out a massive rollout of public phone network in major villages in the area. Already villages in Kolobangara, Simbo, Ranonnga, Vella, Rarumana and others have been earmarked for public phone installations. Villages in and around Seghe at Marovo will also be included in the public phone rollout.

As a rule of thumb, any major village within Telekom mobile signal coverage can qualify to be considered for public phone installations. The new Telekom public phone technology operates on GSM mobile signal as opposed to landline connections but uses the same standard landline phonecards. Telekom Gizo will announce its village public phone rollout program shortly and encourages village leaders to enquire at Gizo Telekom office for updates on selected villages for installation.

Our Telekom is actively rolling out services right into the heart of rural Western Region with the extension of its GSM mobile network in Western and Choiseul provinces. The establishment of the GSM infrastructure across Western Region will enable Telekom to introduce other services such as the expansion of its national public telephone network, as well as introduction of newer services like Wireless Broadband Internet and Television.

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