Digicel Vanuatu has inaugurated its new 3G network in the towns of Port Vila and Luganville; the network supports 3G-enabled handsets, tablet devices and USB dongles. Wireless broadband access is available from as low as VUV7.5 (USD0.08) per MB for post-paid users, with prices rising to VUV17 per MB for pre-paid customers. Paul Stafford, CEO of Digicel Vanuatu, commented: ‘Digicel continues to lead the way in communications in Vanuatu with our latest product: ‘Digicel 3G broadband’ … our advertising campaign is fronted by Usain Bolt, a Digicel global ambassador and the world’s fastest man, [which is] quite fitting as we are launching Vanuatu’s fastest internet’. Speaking at the launch event in Port Vila, Prime Minister Meltek Sato Kilman Livtunvanu added: ‘I applaud Digicel for delivering on their promise to bring fast, affordable and reliable internet services to the people of Vanuatu. When Digicel entered Vanuatu only three years ago they revolutionised mobile phone communication and I am hopeful that this introduction will follow suit in the internet space’.
Vanuatu is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean, some 1,750km east of northern Australia. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms writes that although partially state-owned incumbent Telecom Vanuatu Ltd (TVL) was originally granted exclusivity until 2012, the Telecommunications Act was amended in 2007 in order to open the market up for competition, with the government citing ‘global moves towards liberalisation and rapid developments in telecommunications technology’. As part of negotiations to end the TVL’s exclusivity, the government also surrendered its one-third shareholding in TVL, which became a fully privately owned entity. In December 2007, Jamaica-based Digicel Group was selected to provide wireless services in Vanuatu, going on to receive its licence in March 2008, encompassing spectrum in the 906.7MHz-914.7MHz and 951.7MHz-959.7MHz frequency bands.