The Solomon Island’s National Telecommunications Commissioner Nick Williams has announced that the Oceanic sovereign state plans to offer a third mobile licence before the end of 2010. In a speech given at the Australian Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Mr Williams said that the regulator intends to open the market up to a new operator to join Solomon Telekom – which enjoyed a monopoly on the Islands until the passing of the Telecommunications Act 2009 – and bemobile. In December 2009 bemobile was awarded a second licence, and went on to launch its commercial services last month.
During the forum in Brisbane, Williams said from 1 April 2011 there would be a full liberalisation of the telecoms market. He also highlighted the need for fully-fledged internet service provision in the country. Williams noted that there is a clear demand for internet connectivity, but thus far the supply has been poor, in terms of both availability and speed. He suggested: ‘This is a clear opportunity for investors, and we would welcome them’. Williams also claimed that a project is underway to bring a fibre-optic submarine cable connection to the Solomon Islands.