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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (January 1, 2000 – Radio Australia)---An independent, pro-democracy Member of Parliament, Akilisi Pohiva, has announced support for plans to introduce telecommunications industry competition in Tonga.

Crown Prince Tupouto‘a, who is expected to become the country’s next prime minister, first proposed the move publicly.

He said he will encourage the start of a second telecom carrier, in competition with the monopoly now held by Cable and Wireless.

Mr. Pohiva said such competition would benefit all Tongans.

"There's the possibility, with competition, for two companies or three companies to lower the cost, or the price to the consumers

"That is our problem here in Tonga, Mr. Pohiva said. "There's monopoly in that particular area, and it costs so much to the population.

"If there's competition in there, there's the possibility for prices and for costs to lower down."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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