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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Dec. 16) – Fiji’s monopoly telecommunications company, Telecom Fiji, must be forced to reduce its charges and the government needs to be the one to take action, the Fiji Labor Party said yesterday.

In an ongoing battlet against Telecom Fiji following the release of television commercials stating the companies’ supposed low rates, Leader of the Opposition and FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the Commerce Commission needed to force a reduction of call charges.

"I am shocked to see the commission not moving on the matter despite repeated calls from subscribers and the business community for a substantial reduction in Telecom’s tariff," the former prime minister said. "The estimated cost of delivering a call over Telecom’s domestic network is 7 cents only but subscribers are charged 12.27 cents."

Telecom Fiji charges customers higher rates for calls outside of their district even though it costs the company only 7 cents to connect the calls anywhere within the country, Mr Chaudhry said.

"The delineation of Fiji into three calling zones is nothing short of plain cheating, noting that the cost of delivering a call to anywhere in Fiji is the same," he said. "Why then must the so-called regional or national calls be so expensively priced?"

The party said Telecom Fiji makes up to 118 per cent profit on regional calls, 600 per cent profit on national calls and up to 800 per cent in international call charges.

Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) is the sole provider of local and national (trunk) telephony services, and owns the only public switched telephone network in Fiji. The TFL network consists of 55 telephone exchanges throughout Fiji and Rotuma, connecting more than 101,000 customers.

TFL provides and operates telecommunication services in Fiji under the provisions of the Post & Telecommunications Decrees 1989. This license gives the company a monopoly on the provision of network services, but the provision of telecommunication equipment is open to competition.

December 16, 2004


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