Posts tagged 4G

Closing Address on Behalf of Attorney-General Sayed-Khaiyum at the 6th APT Policy and Regulation Forum

Bula Vinaka and good afternoon.

On behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, it is my pleasure to deliver these closing remarks on his behalf.

When the Attorney-General opened this forum on Tuesday, he stressed that the matter of regional cooperation in ICT development couldn’t be more important – that meetings such as this were crucial to allow Pacific island nations to work together to overcome common challenges in delivering affordable ICT services to our citizens.

Indeed, this is the very foundation of this forum and is reflected in its guiding principles: to bring policy makers and regulators together to discuss matters of common interest; to open up new channels of dialogue; to share information, best practices and experiences; and to encourage collaboration.

By these measures, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to say that the 6th annual Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific has been an outstanding success.

As a group, we’ve endorsed the APT 700 Megahertz (MHz) Band Plan, which outlines how spectrum in the 700 MHz range should be used in the Pacific to provide mobile services, including 4G LTE.

I know that talk about gigabytes and megahertz, bandwidth and broadband, can sound to many like a different language.

In plain English, this band plan is about radio frequencies that carry mobile phone signals. The lower the frequency, the further the signal can travel.

The plan designates the low-frequency 700 MHz range of spectrum as being particularly well suited to our region because it has a larger footprint than higher frequencies, meaning that mobile service providers can reach more people with fewer towers. This has huge benefits for our populations living in remote, hard-to-reach communities.

As such, this plan encourages us to earmark the 700 MHz range for mobile services.  At the moment, many countries in the Pacific have not yet ventured into the 700 MHz range, because there has not yet been the demand or the ability to do so. But as the number of mobile phone users continues to increase in the Pacific, together with the demand for newer technology, this will change.

By endorsing this plan, we will bring the Pacific in line with international standards and will promote regional harmony.

It means, if implemented, that international manufacturers of cell phones will increasingly see the Pacific as a single market because they can sell us equipment that is designed to work on the same frequencies.

This will give the Pacific region the volume – in terms of markets – collectively that many of us lack individually. It will also allow phones to work seamlessly from country to country.

I’m proud to say that in Fiji, we have already implemented this band plan, as was seen in our recent auction of 4G LTE spectrum.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If I might just leave you with one parting thought, on behalf of the Attorney-General:

The promise of technology to improve the lives of our peoples is apparent to us all. During the course of this forum, we’ve heard presentations on broadband, satellite communications, disaster management, and cybercrime, amongst others.

There are none amongst us who doubt the ability technology has to change an individual’s life by empowering them with access to the wider world. There are none amongst us who do not see the potential technology has to promote equality by bridging the divide between the rich and poor, between the urban and rural.

But with this potential, with this opportunity, comes a great challenge –to ensure that the benefits of technology are spread equally to all our citizens.

Technology must be affordable. It must be accessible. It must be attainable. As policy makers and regulators, this is our ultimate goal.

Because if it is not, if some amongst our citizens are left behind by the digital age, then we risk creating even greater disparities amongst them – between those with access, and those without.

So my message is this: leave no one behind. Let’s continue to meet in this forum – and other’s like it – in the same spirit of this shared vision for our nations and for our peoples.

With those few words, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my great pleasure, on behalf of the Attorney-General, to declare this forum officially closed.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Statement from the Attorney General and Minister for Communications – More Than $5 Million Raised at Radio Spectrum Auction

The Fijian People own the airwaves.

On behalf of the Fijian people, the Bainimarama government for the first time insisted on a transparent competitive process to allocate the frequencies on the radio spectrum used by mobile phone carriers. The Fijian people are entitled to fair compensation in return for the right of these companies to use the public’s airwaves to make a profit.

This process was done by auction and was finished today.

The auction exceeded expectations, raising more than $5 million, for the Fijian People and opening the door to the future of 4G service, providing smart phone users super fast internet connections – including streaming, browsing, and video calling.

The new 4G technology, together with Government’s Universal Access Program and Local Internet Exchange, will expand mobile coverage and make the internet more accessible and affordable for the Fijian People.

FIJI’S 4G SPECTRUM AUCTION BEGINS TOMORROW MONDAY

Fiji’s 4G service for smart phone users will be one step closer to reality when the first-ever auction of frequencies on the radio spectrum opens in Suva Monday.

“With the new 4G technology, Universal Service Access and Local Internet Exchange, mobile coverage will be expanded and the internet will become more accessible and affordable. The progress of the auction can be followed by interested members of the public from start to finish,” said the Attorney-General and Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

After each round of the auction, details of the highest bids across all the lots of spectrum will be posted on a notice board in the Foyer, Level 1, Suvavou House.

The auction will run in four daily rounds – at 9.00am, 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm – until Friday July 26 — but may end after as soon as two rounds if there are no new bids for any of the 20 lots of spectrum by that point

Three registered parties – Telecom Fiji Limited, Vodafone Fiji Limited and Digicel Fiji Limited – will be bidding for the right to provide the most up to date technology, putting Fiji on par with other nations that offer the top level of mobile voice and online services.

AG: 4G Coming to Fiji after Nation’s First-Ever Spectrum Auction

The latest generation of 4G mobile internet technology is coming to Fiji.

The Bainimarama Government is conducting Fiji’s first ever auction of frequencies on the radio spectrum — the airwaves that carry mobile phone signals — beginning a process that will make super fast 4G internet access available to all Fijians.  With this new technology, and more that will follow, mobile coverage will be expanded and the internet will become more accessible and affordable.

The new 4G technology will give Fijians with compatible mobile devices high speed access to the internet – including streaming, browsing, and video calling.

Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that 4G – given the strength of its signal – will play an important role in extending mobile coverage to 100% of Fiji, up from 95% now.

“This is just another example of the Bainimarama Government’s commitment  to bridging the digital divide between the rich and the poor, and the rural and the urban. It is our firm belief that every Fijian, no matter where they live or how much the make, should have access to the many benefits that mobile phones and the internet provide,” he said.

The 4G upgrade will complement the Universal Access Program – which offers Government subsidies to companies that provide services in remote areas – to reach the goal of 100% coverage in the very near future.

“This is about empowering ordinary Fijians. It is about giving them access to information and the digital world,” he said.

The Attorney General emphasized that because spectrum is a limited resource, and that the frequencies belong to the Fijian people, it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that 4G frequencies are allocated in an accountable and transparent way.

“The auction – for 4G LTE Spectrum – will promote competition, attract foreign investors, and eliminate the kind of corruption that is seen the world over when it comes to spectrum allocation,” he said. “In Fiji, past Governments allocated frequencies on the spectrum with no rationale, planning, or vision for the future,” he added.

The auction is a highly transparent process that will be open to all interested parties, including non-telecommunications companies, to encourage the participation of more bidders, increasing competition beyond the two current mobile service providers in Fiji.  The Government’s strategy is that by increasing competition, service and affordability will improve.

The winning bidders will be required to make 4G service operational by a set deadline.  This will prevent the holding of airwaves in disuse for the purpose of speculation, profiteering or preventing competition from entering the market.

The ascending bid auction will take place from 24 June to 28 June at the office of the Department of Communications in Suva, Fiji.