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New mobile phone service reaches 85 percent of country

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 26, 2008) – "Hallo, Chief Isaac Wan in Tanna. This is the Deputy Prime Minister and we are launching Digicel in Port Vila, which is why I am talking by mobile to you. Listen, your Solar Panel is going to reach you. Ture is going to hand it to you shortly. By the way, at the launching everything is painted red in the same colour as the John Frum crosses".

"Hallo Chief Isaac Wan, as the Deputy Prime Minister has said, this is in line with what we have agreed to. Yes, all the things that we have been talking about are coming true and I am delighted to be able to speak to you today when we are launching Digicel in Port Vila".

The contents of the two conversations sounded highly political but the news is that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister launched Digicel in the new National Capital yesterday.

With the words, "The Bigger, Better Network Is Here", the invitation to the launch in the Digicel Flagship Store (former Ma Baker’s Restaurant building) sent guests’ eyes popping with amazement at the varieties of products at affordable costs. The cheapest mobile phone is sold at a mere.2, 000 vatu [US$22].

A person can now reach by mobile 85 percent of the 80 islands that make up the Archipelago.

In his address, Digicel Vanuatu General Manager John Delves explained, "We are delighted to be launching in Vanuatu, giving people access to affordable communications for the first time.

"We are launching with 85 percent of population coverage from day one and we guarantee that we will offer the people of Vanuatu services like they have never seen before. This is just the start of our relationship with Vanuatu and we have very ambitious plans for the months ahead".

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