Tongan government plans sale of 20% of Tonga Cable to Digicel

24 Feb 2016

The government of the South Pacific island nation of Tonga has opened negotiations to sell off a quarter of its 80% stake in Tonga Cable Limited, established in November 2009 to build and manage a submarine fibre-optic submarine link – dubbed Tonga Cable – to connect Tonga to an international network service, to Digicel Group. Local press reports say that in a move that has ‘surprised’ parliament, the state is considering the sale as it looks to make up a shortfall in the funding required to connect the isles of Vava’u and Ha’apai to Tonga Cable, which has linked Tongatapu to the rest of the world since 2013. In a speech to Parliament, the Minister for Public Enterprises, the Honourable Poasi Tei, confirmed that talks were taking place with Digicel Tonga (and its ISP, DigiNET), concerning a plan to sell 20% of the public enterprise cable venture. If completed, Digicel Tonga would own a similar stake as that currently held by state-owned Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC) – albeit that the shares ‘are now more expensive,’ he said. Although the value of the deal has not been disclosed, it is understood the government needs at least USD5 million to complete the connection of the two named islands. This is in addition to the funds already allocated by the World Bank.

Tonga, Digicel Tonga, Tonga Cable Limited, Tonga Communications Corp (TCC, incl. U-Call Mobile)