The government of Kiribati is near to granting a licence to international mobile group Digicel to launch GSM services in the tiny Pacific island nation, reports Radio New Zealand International. According to the report, the government has approved Digicel’s proposal to invest just over USD9.3 million in deploying a network across all Kiribati’s populated islands. Telecommunications Authority Chief Executive Pwanouia Aberaan said that the process of finalising terms and conditions of the licence was underway, and that the concession was expected to be issued to Digicel in the next three weeks. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Kiribati’s incumbent operator Telecom Services Kiribati Ltd (TSKL) launched GSM mobile services on the main island Tarawa under the FrigateNet brand in November 2004, and has since expanded network coverage to South Tarawa, Kiritimati Island (Christmas Island) and some parts of North Tarawa. Digicel could take over TSKL’s mobile operations, as it did when it acquired Samoan operator Telecom Samoa. The agreement with Kiribati will bring to six the number of countries in the Pacific in which Digicel holds licences.
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