SOURCE: Digicel

March 14, 2008 09:30 ET

Digicel Awarded GSM Mobile License in Vanuatu

Liberalization Brings Benefits of State-of-the-Art Network, Competitive Products and Services as Well as Community Support

PORT VILA, VANUATU--(Marketwire - March 14, 2008) - Digicel Pacific Ltd., the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Pacific, has strengthened its footprint in the region with the announcement today that it has been awarded a license to operate a GSM network in Vanuatu after being awarded a mobile license in Fiji two weeks ago. Digicel Pacific will now offer a seamless pan pacific GSM network across five markets, including Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is a perfect example of a country where the commitment of the Government has resulted in a speedy end to the monopolization of the telecoms sector by a company owned by the State and private interests such as Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL). The entire liberalization process was completed in less than five months and can be used as a perfect template for other countries looking to benefit from the enormous benefits of competition to their country.

With mobile penetration in Vanuatu at just 16 percent, Digicel is planning an investment of US$35 million (Vuv3.325 Billion) in building an extensive state-of-the-art GSM network that will enhance mobile communications and spur competition in Vanuatu offering innovative and accessible mobile services that offer real value to customers. Digicel is committed to providing unbeatable network coverage. Digicel Vanuatu plans to expand its existing operation in Vanuatu to more than 70 employees to support the company in its aim to become the people's mobile operator of choice.

"Digicel is delighted to be in Vanuatu. Digicel has operated in the region since 2006 and brings to Vanuatu an impressive track record in both Samoa and Papua New Guinea. Vanuatu is a very important market for us. Our goal is to become the number one operator in this market," said Vanessa Slowey, Digicel Pacific CEO.

According to Slowey, "Digicel is committed to providing the people of Vanuatu competitive mobile solutions that offer the best value for money through its state-of-the-art network, superior customer care and innovative products and services. We are building on our experience gained in Papua New Guinea and Samoa to bring a world class organization and customer service to Vanuatu."

Digicel Vanuatu also announces the acquisition of the previously owned Pacific Data Solutions (PDS) switch building and associated assets in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The building is a prime property in Vanuatu and will be used to house the Digicel Vanuatu office and telecommunications operations. This purchase did not include any of PDS' ongoing businesses, including its online gambling business.

Digicel Pacific Ltd. is a sister company to Digicel Group, the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and new entrant to the Central American mobile market. In 2007, Digicel Group Ltd. recorded more than six million customers and a total investment exceeding US$1.9 billion after just seven years of operation.

About Vanuatu

Location: Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-third of the way from Australia to Hawaii, includes more than 80 islands, 65 islands of which are inhabited

Population: 211,971 (July 2007 est.)

Telecommunications: Incumbent Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) has been the sole provider -- mobile penetration is at 16 percent (2005)

Language: Bislama, English and French

About Digicel Pacific

Since its launch in the Pacific in November 2006, Digicel has become the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Pacific with current operations in Samoa and Papua New Guinea, a recent acquisition in Tonga as well a obtaining a license in Fiji. Digicel is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets.

Digicel is proud sponsor of several national rugby teams across the Pacific including; Fiji Rugby, Digicel Fiji Sevens, Digicel Pacific Islanders Rugby Team and the Digicel PukPuks.

Digicel Pacific Ltd. is a sister company to Digicel Group, the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and new entrant to the Central American mobile market.

For more information, please visit