7 Aug 2008

Solomons government keen to open telecommunications sector

7:21 pm on 7 August 2008

The Solomon Islands Telecommunications Minister is urging Telekom shareholders to negotiate with Jamaican mobile operator Digicel about its plans to buy a stake in the telecommunications provider.

Solomons Telekom has a monopoly, with a 15-year exclusive contract it obtained in 2003.

But it may face competition after the government announced that it was putting together a draft Telekom bill to liberalise the market.

Recently, Solomon Telekom won a High Court injunction to stop Digicel from entering the market.

But the Telecommunications minister Varian Longamei says the government is encouraging Telekom's majority shareholder, the National Provident Fund, to negotiate with Digicel.

"We would like the NPF and the commercial arm of the Solomon Islands government to take the lead to negotiate the sales so we're giving the two shareholders all the opportunities to discuss with Digicel for the conditions."

Varian Longamei