12 Jan 2016

Futuna mobile phone dispute unresolved

11:29 am on 12 January 2016

A meeting has been held on the French Pacific island of Futuna in a bid to persuade a local family not to stop the island's new mobile network.

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Photo: AFP

The family, backed by chiefs, threatened to cut off a key transmitter, citing land ownership issues and health concerns.

According to the public broadcaster, the phone provider, the family and local chiefs failed to resolve their dispute, but with the family conceding that they won't shut down the site for another few days.

The family claims the site is on private land and the company claims it is on public land.

When the transmitter was turned on before Christmas, Wallis and Futuna became the last French territory to get a mobile phone service.

Its launch followed 15 years of work on the project which had been resisted as opponents feared mobile phone contact could damage local customs.