Mobile broadband pricing reductions will see uptake increase in Fiji

The interim government is still overseeing the country operation in 2013 until the parliamentary elections for a new government are held in 2014. The current government continues to make more fundamental changes aiming to bring continued growth to the country. Recent policies include a reduction in the duty of smartphones that aims to bring the internet into the hands of the people across the islands. Further changes into the coming years aim to see digital spectrum become available after the analogue TV transmission is converted to digital.

Other polices include the broadband policy aims to have 95% of the population with internet speeds of a minimum of 2MB/s by 2016. This is an exponential increase on the 1% of the population that have this speed in 2012. The opening of community tele-centres with more to come online in 2013, have seen tens of thousands now having access to theses centres.

As with many other Pacific countries, Fiji also relies on the valuable contribution that the tourism dollar brings. In 2012 tourism was up again, albeit by a small amount. But the cyclonic conditions that occurred from late 2012 to early 2013 may see the economy slow slightly as damage to infrastructure and early tourism departures occurred.

Mobile broadband pricing from the mobile network operators (MNOs) – Digicel and Vodafone – has finally seen decent reductions in price and mobile data limits lifted into early 2013. A lower price point and the greater availability of lower priced tablets as well as the reductions in duty of modems and smartphones should now see conditions available that will increase participation and penetration rates.

A key economic benefit from mobile money transfers is occurring across Fiji now that many of the unbanked in Fiji have access to mobile payments. The mobile payments from both MNOs been enabled to pay for services as well as receive money from friends and relative living outside of the country. Millions of dollars of transactions have now occurred since the money transfer services commenced only a couple of years ago. Increased usage is nearly guaranteed, as in early 2013 the release of a new e-ticketing service saw the e-tickets sold out well in advance of planned uptake.

Key e-indicators of Fiji – early 2013

Sector

2013

Annual change

Estimates of subscribers to telecom services (thousand):
Mobile subscribers 735 1%
Mobile broadband 160 7%
Fixed broadband 25 8%
Fixed lines 130 0%
Facebook users 180 19%
Internet users 180 20%

(Source: BuddeComm)

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Fiji – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

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