19 Mar 2008

Vanuatu NGO welcomes arrival of mobile phone company

12:18 pm on 19 March 2008

A Vanuatu umbrella NGO, Vango, says the arrival of a new mobile phone company into the country will improve the living standard of many residents.

The company, Digicel, has won a mobile phone licence for Vanuatu, breaking the monopoly by Telecom.

Digicel plans to create about 70 new jobs and invest about 35 million US dollars into the network.

Vango's secretary general, Henry Vira, says Digicel's plan to offer its services to rural areas, where about 80 percent of residents live, is vital.

"I have seen and heard a lot of interest from communities who want to be able to be connected so that they could speak to loved ones from other islands, speak to the government, speak to people in authority. There's an air of optimism in the communities that another telecommunications provider is coming in."

Henry Vira says it'll also give them better access to doctors and emergency services.