Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fiji - The Vodafone monopoly

Vodafone, State sign 15-year deal
From Fiji Sun

The Interim Government has proposed to issue leading mobile service provider Vodafone Fiji Limited a 15-year open facilities-based telecommunication licence with no establishment fee. This agreement is expected to be finalised during the signing of the deed settlement between Amalgamated Telecommunication Holdings, Telecom Fiji Limited, Fiji International Telecommunications Limited and Vodafone early next week.
Confidential documents representing an understanding between Vodafone and the Government concerning the consequences of the implementation of the deregulation of the telecommunication industry stated that the Government had agreed to issue the licence without an upfront or other establishment fee in relation to the issue of the licence.

In another term of settlement, the Government had agreed to issue Vodafone spectrum licences at no charge other than annual charges in relation to Telecommunications Authority of Fiji’s administration and management costs.

This proposal would also apply to other spectrum licence holders on a non-discriminatory basis that will provide for spectrum as follow:

-900Mz spectrum-
* 15MHz of 900 MHz spectrum (paired) for the period begging of the day the agreement is signed until December 31, 2009.
* 13MHz of 900MHz spectrum (paired) from the period beginning January 1, 2010 for so long its licence has not expired.

-2GHz spectrum
* 15 MHz of 3G/UMTS spectrum (paired) from the commencement date of this agreement for so long as the licence has not expired.

Microwave radio links
* Government shall ensure the spectrum to be used for the microwave facilities that is detailed in the letter from the ministry to Vodafone dated November 30 this year.
In terms of the introduction of facility based operators, the State will not allow new operator or licenses entitled to operate a mobile network to offer mobile services.

Vodafone will be the lone company that can offer commercial mobile services to the public until September next year.

The 15-year licence will allow Vodafone to establish it own international gateway and any related facilities.

This means that Vodafone could also purchase international gateway and any related facilities or to be able to purchase international services from any provider.
Government would also ensure that for so long as FINTEL provides prices approved by the commerce commission, all services provider in the telecommunication industry shall be bound to use FINTEL as the international service provider for the period of 18 months beginning from the date of the signing of the agreement.

Government shall also ensure that the Telecommunication Bill or Commerce (Amendment) Bill contains a provision that the following services may not be regulated for a period of no less than three years from the date of the signing of the agreement by all parties concerned.

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