… it won’t even make the newspapers according to analysis of one publication.

From Islands Business:

Not in tune? Someone was obviously sleeping in a local media newsroom in Fiji when the country’s telecommunication market opened up last month. By the early hours of November 20, 2007, news had broken that an agreement had been reached and signed by the Fiji government and the incumbent telecommunication carriers, which would effectively open up the market. Before midday, two local online news portals had carried their versions of the news while the one that apparently won a local award for the “best local news/information media-based website 2007” was obviously not aware that an event of historic proportion to the nation and business in the country had just taken place.

Sadly, perfect description of the media in Fiji on so many levels.

Change is coming...The article is a great read and can help you get to the bottom of what is at stake with present reforms.  Here’s an excerpt:

FACT ONE:

The Exclusive Licenses under the spotlight are:

Telecom Fiji Ltd (TFL) – exclusive license in domestic market

“TFL’s telecommunications license is for a term of 25 years commencing 1 January 1990. Under the license, TFL has an exclusive right to establish, operate and maintain a telecommunications system for the purpose of providing telecommunications services specified. On expiration of the license, the government has the right to purchase TFL’s assets at an agreed price or as determined by arbitration in accordance with the arbitration laws of Fiji.”- ATH share offer document, 2002, page 31

Vodafone Fiji Ltd – exclusive license in mobile telephony market
“Through a license agreement between TFL and Vodafone Fiji, TFL, in exercise of the rights and powers conferred upon it, granted Vodafone Fiji in May 1994, the sole and exclusive rights and authority to the exclusion of all others (including TFL), to establish and operate a cellular mobile telephone system in Fiji and its surrounding waters. The license permits the connection and maintenance of the connection of Vodafone’s Fiji cellular network to TFL’s PSTN. The parties agree to interconnect their respective telecommunication system.”
– ATH share offer document, 2002, page 75.

FINTEL’s license…
“FINTEL’s telecommunication license commenced on 1 January 1990 and is for a term of 25 years. On expiration of the license, the government has the right to purchase FINTEL’s assets at an agreed price or as determined by arbitration in accordance with the arbitration laws of Fiji.”
-ATH share offer document, 2002, page 34

FACT TWO:
ALL three companies are linked to the publicly listed Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH).
ATH owns 100 percent of TFL.
TFL owns 51 percent of Vodafone Fiji.
ATH also, under a management agreement dated 16 December 1998, “holds the right to manage the Government’s 51 percent shareholding in FINTEL for a period of 20 years, with the option to renew for an additional 10 years. Under the agreement, ATH is entitled to receive 80 percent of the government’s dividend payment from FINTEL as management fee.”
– ATH share offer document, 2002, page 33

FACT THREE:
ATH is majority owned by the Fiji National Provident Fund who has over 58 percent shares in it. The Fiji Governments owns 39 percent, institutional holders own two percent and the rest are owned by the Fiji public.

FACT FOUR:
Trading in ATH shares was suspended on November 26, 2007 following speculation over what was contained in the Radisson Telecom Accord.
But this was after an interest was expressed by a potential buyer bidding for 200,000 shares at 75 cents.
As this edition went to press, the Fiji government announced that cabinet has endorsed the Radisson Telecom Accord.

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