[pacific scoop] Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says Solomon Islands is keen to see more competition in the telecommunication industry. PM Sikua Wants More Telecommunication Competition
Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says Solomon Islands is keen to see more competition in the telecommunication industry.
Speaking at the start of the 14th Pacific Islands Telecommunication Association Meeting Monday this week, Dr Sikua said telecommunication is a key component in both social and economic development and having a monopoly in the telecommunication industry is not helpful to the development aspirations of Solomon Islands.
Since coming into power in December 2007, Dr Sikua’s Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) government undertook a major reform to encourage investment and competition to ensure modern telecommunications serve as a platform for economic growth and social cohesion.
In December 2009, the Government successfully enacted the new Telecommunication Act which saw new mobile service entrant Bemobile Company given a license to provide mobile services here.
The Act also provides for further mobile telecommunication companies to enter the market after April 2011.
“We believe the reform will see improvements in quality services at affordable prices, in a competition market. We hope that a third or more entrants can come after April 2011. If there are telecommunications companies represented here tonight, please take serious note of this announcement,” Dr Sikua said.
The Government’s move to liberalize telecommunications is to achieve rapid expansion of telecommunications infrastructure and services in the Solomon Islands, and make available to the population the widest possible range of efficient, reliable and affordable telecommunications services competitively provided in a fairly regulated market.
The second aim is to enhance national economic and social development, particularly beyond Honiara, by promoting the ongoing development and effective utilization of telecommunications in the Solomon Islands, such that quantifiable impact is achieved throughout the country within the next 5 years.
Dr Sikua also explained that for competition to have the greatest impact for the consumer and the country more broadly, a modern legislative framework is required to regulate the various suppliers of telecommunication services.
He strongly emphasized that the key attribute to this legislation based on international experience is that, an independent regulator is required to make the necessary decisions to ensure the telecommunications market is operating efficiently and fairly.
The Prime Minister believed that a liberalized telecommunications landscape will radically change the lives of all citizens.
“Almost every person in this country will personally benefit from greater access to telecommunication services. Also, the country benefits through better productivity, more investment, more employment and increased economic growth,” he explained.
PM Sikua Wants More Telecommunication Competition