Mobile operator Vodafone Fiji last night launched its fourth-generation (4G) mobile network in the country, Fiji Village reports. At the launch ceremony, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said that the introduction of the ultra-high speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) service places the nation ‘in the front rank’ of world telecom service providers, and will benefit many people in Fiji.
Vodafone rival Digicel Fiji, meanwhile, has said it will introduce its own 4G/LTE network early next year. Digicel commercial director Andrew Skelton said that the operator has already secured 4G wireless broadband access through another carrier – Unwired – and is working on securing the proper handsets to support its own fledgling mobile LTE network.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in July this year the auction of frequencies to provide Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Fiji kicked off with domestic operators Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL), Vodafone Fiji and Digicel Fiji lining up to place their bids for 20 lots of frequency on offer. In what was the government’s first-ever 4G auction, companies looked to secure frequency blocks carrying minimum valuations of between FJD131,250 and FJD504,000 (USD70,049 and USD268,986). By the end of the process, Vodafone Fiji had secured its entire 30MHz quota for 4G spectrum, offering FJD144,000 for each of the six 5MHz lots of 4G spectrum blocks purchased in the LTE-1800 band (i.e. FJD864,000). Digicel paid a total of FJD1.94 million for its 30MHz block of frequencies; it acquired three blocks of LTE-suitable spectrum in the 800MHz band for FJD1.26 million and added blocks in the LTE-1800 band. Meanwhile, TFL secured FJD2.2 million worth of frequencies as a result of the auction – again securing a total of 30MHz, thought to be three blocks of LTE-800 and three of LTE-1800.