6 Oct 2010

Digicel's plans for French Polynesia put on hold after bill passed by assembly

8:41 pm on 6 October 2010

The mobile phone company Digicel has put its bid to enter the French Polynesia market on hold after the legislative assembly passed a bill putting a 35-percent ceiling on any foreign investment in that sector.

Oceania Flash reports that following heated debate, the bill tabled by former minister Jacqui Drollet was passed by 32 of the 57 MPs, mostly from Mr Drollet's party, the pro-independence Union for Democracy.

In its current form, Digicel's project involves some 80 percent of foreign funds to be injected into the French Pacific territory.

The Caribbean-based company has since reacted by saying that in view of the latest decision, its current investments in French Polynesia were being put on hold.

An earlier bid from the company was first declined in April 2009, then approved three months later as a new bid.

In February 2010, Digicel was granted its business licence by local authorities and five months later, it was allocated its frequencies.