8 Aug 2005

Phone charges in Fiji face sweeping changes

8:21 pm on 8 August 2005

Fiji's Commerce Commissions has reduced most telecommunications prices imposed by the country's monopoly service providers.

Radio Legend reports that an earlier determination was suspended three months ago after the international service provider, Fintel, threatened legal action against the commission.

But following new submissions by the companies, the Commerce Commission has handed down a fresh draft determination which sees sharply increased telephone line rentals.

Residential line rentals will go up 285 percent to 5 US dollars a month and business line rentals by 840 percent to 21 US dollars a month.

But international call charges have been reduced from 86 US cents a minute to 45 cents.

Mobile to mobile phones charges have been reduced by 75 percent to 32 cents a minute while calls from mobile phones to land lines will cost 29 US cents a minute compared with $1.07 US at present.

Internet dial-up charges are to go down by 25 percent.

The Commerce Commission chairman, Thomas Raju, says the new prices show that all telecommunications companies in Fiji have been charging excessively high prices in past years.

Fiji's domestic, international and mobile phone companies - Telecom Fiji, Fintel, and Vodafone Fiji - have 14 days to respond to the new prices which are due to come into effect on October 1st.