Digicel Pacific, the South Pacific arm of acquisitive Caribbean wireless operator Digicel, has announced that it has officially begun its pan-Pacific roll out with the commercial launch of a GSM network in Samoa. Digicel Pacific now offers a wide range of mobile services and products including free connection, per-second billing and text messaging (SMS). Digicel claims its new network has coverage of 80% of the population of Samoa.
Digicel received a GSM licence from the government of Samoa in April this year and subsequently acquired Telecom Samoa, operator of a TDMA-based network with around 30,000 customers; all existing customers will now be encouraged to switch to the GSM network and be offered a free handset if they agree to do so. In addition to Samoa, Digicel Pacific has GSM licences for Papua New Guinea (awarded in September 2006) and Fiji (April 2006); it also has an trial licence in the Solomon Islands.