Our Telekom officially launched its new reduced call rates, effective as of midnight last night.

Our Telekom CEO, Loyley Ngira, says the company is experiencing "great growths in its customer base hence the need for a new rates management."

He says Our Telekom's mobile network user base is fast approaching forty thousand people and the company expects the numbers to reach one hundred and fifty thousand by the end of March next year.

The new call rates for mobile-to-mobile have been reduced to a SBD$1.50 per minute, down from SBD$3.10 per minute. Mr Ngira says the new SBD$1.50 per minute rates applies to both post-paid and prepaid customers.

Mobile to fixed and fixed to mobile call rates has been reduced to SBD$2.00 per minute. Fixed line local call rates remains SBD$0.70 per call while fixed to fixed trunk calls has been reduced to SBD$2.50 per minute.

Mr Ngira says the new call rates carry a reduction of about 50%.

Industry insiders say that Our Telekom is preparing itself for the entry of new Telecommunication providers. The new rates usher in a new era in the Telecommunications market in the Solomon Islands. The government, early this week, cancelled the monopoly held by Our Telekom with a payout totaling millions as compensation.

Digicel, the largest telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and recent entrant to the Central American market, has shown strong interest in entering the Solomon Islands market. Since its launch in 2001, Digicel has become renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services and state-of-the-art handsets. By offering innovative wireless services and community support, Digicel has become a leading brand across its 31 markets worldwide.