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This site has repeatedly pointed out that FINTEL’s dominance over the telecommunications market in Fiji is perhaps the key stumbling block for progress in the industry. Last week saw the highlighting of yet another conflict and its eventual resolution. While stakeholders have to be commended for arriving at quick resolution, we have to wonder whether these small incidents are part of a larger anti-competitive stance being taken by FINTEL. Pricing, innovation, and the offering of new services are all being held back because of FINTEL’s dominance. This will remain unchanged until there is investment in a secondary fibre cable or satellite alternative.

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With two months to go to announcement of further liberalization of the telecommunications, the ATH house seems to be in disarray as the subsidiaries try to get the best position for the arrival of real competition.

In previous weeks, we saw the removal of Telecom Fiji Ltd. (TFL) CEO, Taito Tabaleka, after he tried to make a submission on mobile call rate ceilings that would have affected what he believed was TFL’s ability to go up against Vodafone and Digicel.

Fijilive brings word of the latest round:

TFL now provides its own international call service to the Fiji market through the IDD code 052, which has replaced FINTEL’s 00 IDD code in this year’s national directory.

FINTEL has filed an official complaint with officials regarding this action by Fiji Directories Ltd, a subsidiary of TFL. This is a fight over how consumers will choose to make international phone calls. It’s not a trivial matter for these companies. Without FINTEL’s service in this year’s directory, consumers are only being informed of TFL’s facility for making overseas calls. This measure does not facilitate competition and should be properly remedied by the authorities.

FINTEL and TFL, in the latest round of infighting

FINTEL and TFL face-off in the latest round

In front of the major announcement of liberalization of access to Fiji’s international gateway, expect to see more fights in the ATH family. At stake is future profitablity and marketshare for existing and new services. We can only hope that regulators are on the ball and keeping abreast of attempts to liberalize markets overseas.

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