Mobile giant, Digicel, has been given the go-ahead by the Fiji government to begin operations in Fiji.As reported by the Fiji Times in Fiji, the country's Interim Communications Minister, Tom Ricketts, 'yesterday presented Digicel chief financial officer Patrick Maguire with a licence to operate a GSM network in Nadi'.
'Mr Maguire also presented Mr Ricketts with a cheque of $US10.25million ($15.36m) as a licence fee'.
According to the report, Mr Ricketts said 'Digicel's entry into the market marked the beginning of the liberalization process initiated by the interim government' and that the interim government 'welcomed Digicel because it would bring about benefits to the people in the form of employment and a choice of services'.
The Minister added that 'it is forecasted that the company will cover up to 95 per cent of the population in the next two years' and that 'Fiji should also be very proud to be chosen by Digicel as its regional hub of operations'.
'Digicel chief executive, Vanessa Slowey said they were very thankful for the efforts put in by the Government to liberalise the industry' and that Fiji 'was a very important market given its growth potential and geographical location'.
The company has 'expanded its existing operations with more than 250 full-time employees' and 'also planned 250 part-time employees will be hired to support the company's aim of becoming Fiji's leading mobile operator'.
Meanwhile, Fiji's other mobile operator, who had been Fiji's only mobile operator until the Fiji government decided to open up the telecommunications market, Vodafone Fiji Limited, is reported as congratulating Digicel for obtaining their licence and has welcomed competition.
Digicel recently launched in Vanuatu last month and their commencement of operations in Fiji marks its presence in five countries in the region, including Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. In a recent report about its planned Pacific expansion, the company revealed it is also hoping to secure a licence in Kiribati.