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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 20) – Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase is expected to push hard to ensure that the country’s telecommunications monopoly is opened up later this year.

Although Mr Qarase said the change would be difficult because of the Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) exclusive license, he said the step was needed for development in Fiji.

He added that one of the proposals still being considered was to compensate ATH for partly opening up the market, for which it now holds a monopoly and charges high rates.

However, compensation may be a problem since apparently ATH wants $300 million before allowing any competition.

Newly appointed Information and Communications Minister, Doctor Ahmed Ali, is now looking at ways to open up the market.

ATH has not commented on the matter.

January 20, 2005

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