With or without a licence, the international mobile phone company, Digicel, is going ahead with plans to set up a network of telecommunication towers throughout Solomon Islands.

Digicel is reported to be working on a plan to set up a network of telecommunication towers and other facilities and equipment necessary to set up a national mobile network in the country once it gets its licence.

Sources both in Australia and Solomon Islands who want to remain anonymous have said that Digicel has already contracted a company in Australia to transport the different parts of the telecommunications towers and equipment throughout the country.

Digicel is also working on a plan to start negotiating with different customary landowners through the country for plots of land on which Digicel would put up the towers.

"They will negotiate with landowners and if any landowners become difficult, we will just move on to another possible site," said one of our sources.

In an interview with one company source, he said that Digicel is not going to just wait around for a licence, but would rather work on establishing the ground work on a mobile system that covers the whole country.

He said that they have a system in place and all they need is a licence and besides providing the national mobile service they would also provide all other services.

Meanwhile, when the Digicel subsidiary in Honiara was contacted, the spokesman said that there was no comment from them and indicated that it was unlikely that anyone from their company would comment on the story at this point in time.

However neither Digicel nor its Solomon Islands subsidiary has objected to the Solomon Times running the story.

Digicel has applied to operate in Solomon Islands but this has not been possible as Solomon Telekom had obtained a monopoly 15-year licence in the country and has taken out a High Court case to block Digicel's application.

The Solomon Islands Government has however supported liberalising the telecommunications industry and has supported Digicel's application.