Fiji leading Pacific Islands in LTE and 5G development

Fiji leading Pacific Islands in LTE and 5G development

Fiji has a relatively sophisticated communications infrastructure with the highest mobile and internet penetration in the Pacific Islands. It is the leading market to watch in terms of both LTE and 5G development in this region.

The Fijian mobile operators, including Digicel Fiji and Vodafone Fiji, continue to invest in LTE and LTE-A technologies, and these networks now account for the largest share of mobile connections. Concentrating on the more highly populated areas, the operators are preparing for the next growth area of mobile data. The operators also have 5G in mind, and are preparing their networks to be 5G-ready.

Fiji presents a challenging geographic environment for infrastructure developments due to its population being spread across more than 100 islands. However, the majority of Fijians live on the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

In July 2018, the two islands were linked by the Savusavu submarine cable system, which provides a more secure link in times of emergency weather events such as the regular tropical cyclones that often cause massive destruction to the area, including destroying essential infrastructure such as electricity and telecommunications equipment.

In Fiji, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the economy that is otherwise reliant on the hospitality and tourism sectors. With much of the country still in lockdown and cross-border travel still restricted due to the onset of the Delta variant in April, 2021 is now expected to pose an even more challenging business environment.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, has offset such pressures. The net effect is expected to be a steady though reduced increase in subscriber growth.

Key developments:

  • Australian government contributes $1.33 billion of the $1.6 billion cost for Telstra to acquire Digicel Pacific;
  • Fiji’s health and economy devastated by the Delta variant of Covid-19.
  • Fiji government announces a 30-year tax holiday and duty concessions for any company wishing to invest more than FJD$40 million in submarine networks and associated infrastructure development.
  • TFL announces a five-year plan to expand fibre infrastructure to more parts of the country.
  • The Gondwana-2 international submarine cable to Fiji is due for completion in early-2022.
  • Digicel launches an Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service in partnership with BSP.
  • This quarterly update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2020, telcos' financial and operating data to H1 2021, and recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Fiji - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: October 2021

Analyst: Stephen Marshall

Number of pages: 92

Companies mentioned in the report: Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Telecom Fiji (TFL), Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), Kacific Broadband Satellites, Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), Vodafone Fiji (VFL), Digicel Fiji, Inkk Mobile, Unwired Fiji, Fintel Internet Services (Kidanet)

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This article is an update to a previous BuddeComm Market Report.