Fiji is one of the first nations in the South Pacific to allocate frequencies on the radio spectrum for 4G LTE communications.
This was revealed at the 6th annual Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Policy and Regulation Forum, held at the Novotel in Nadi this week.
“Fiji once again emerges as a leader in ICT in the region, being the second Pacific island nation to allocate frequencies in the 700 MHz range for 4G, behind Papua New Guinea, and the first to do so by open auction, ahead of even New Zealand,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The AG explained that Fiji’s recent auction of 4G spectrum was in line with the APT’s 700MHz Band Plan, which was endorsed this week by the forum.
“While Fiji has already implemented this Band Plan, the forum’s endorsement today marks a significant step forward for the region,” the AG said
“The Band Plan encourages Pacific island nations to earmark the 700 MHz range of frequencies for mobile services. At the moment, besides Fiji and PNG, countries in the Pacific have not yet ventured into the 700 MHz range, because there has not been the demand or the ability to do so. But as the number of mobile phone users continues to increase in the Pacific, together with the demand for newer technology, this will change,” he said.
The AG explained that the lower-frequency 700 MHz range of spectrum is particularly well suited to Pacific island countries because it has a larger footprint than higher frequencies, meaning that mobile service providers can reach more people with fewer towers.
“This has huge benefits for our populations living in remote, hard-to-reach communities,” he said.
He added that earmarking the 700 MHz range for mobile communications will bring the Pacific in line with international standards and will promote regional harmony.
“It means, if implemented, that international manufacturers of cell phones will see the Pacific as a single market because they can sell all of us equipment that is designed to work within the 700MHz range . This will give the Pacific region the volume collectively that many of us lack individually. It will also allow phones to work seamlessly from country to country,” he said.