The study of the PIRRC on Intra Regional IDD Calls took one month to conduct and the results were announced at the 5th Asia Pacific Telecommunity Forum on Policy and Regulation that would conclude later today (25th July) at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island. The PIRRC also used the APT Forum to release the result of its second study on Mobile Roaming Charges within Pacific Island Countries.
PIRRC’s Research Assistant Ms Shivanjni Anamika who conducted the two studies said in both fixed lines and mobile telephones, Samoa has one of the cheapest rates when calling other islands of the Pacific. Tariff ranges from 33 to 77 cents (US) per minute.
Calling Solomon Islands from the Federated States of Micronesia got the most expensive inter Pacific IDD rate, costing USD3.20 a minute. Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Papua New Guinea use fixed standard rates when using a fixed telephone to call other island countries.
For mobile IDD calls, Tonga provides relatively the cheapest mobile rates, the PIRRC study shows. Tonga mobile IDD rates range from USD 0.35 and 0.49 per minute. Kiribati and Tuvalu on the other hand have the highest rates of USD2.46 and USD2.96. Again Samoa claims the cheapest mobile IDD rate when it comes to calling Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Tonga from Samoa, with tariff sitting at USD0.25 a minute.
Calling from Palau to Nauru and Niue on mobile telephones is the most expensive. The rate is USD5.00 per minute. Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Solomon Islands employ a standard mobile IDD rate.
“The result of the study confirms what the industry already knows; countries that have opened up their market to competition tend to offer customers cheaper rates,” explains Mr Muhammad Aslam Hayat, the Director of PIRRC.
Ms Anamika added a reason for the studies was to offer motivation to operators to review their IDD rates, as well as to urge regulators of the telecom industry to look into pricing. She said the study would be particularly beneficial to consumers.
On mobile roaming charges, Vodafone Fiji offers the cheapest rate when receiving calls on roaming while visiting Tonga at USD 0.54 a minute, the second PIRRC study shows. Cook Island mobile roaming in Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu on the other hand is the most expensive, at USD3.60 per minute.
This study also shows that:
- Making a local call with a Nauru SIM while visiting nine of the listed Pacific countries is most expensive at USD 2.91 pm (per minute)
- Making a local call while roaming in Samoa with a Cook Island SIM is the cheapest at USD 0.57 pm
- Calling home (Nauru) when roaming with a Nauru SIM is most expensive at USD 5.86 per min
- Calling home to Solomon Islands while roaming in Fiji is cheapest at USD 1.38 per min
- Sending SMS while roaming with a Nauru SIM is the most expensive at USD 0.89 per sms
- Sending SMS from Tonga while roaming with a Fiji SIM is cheapest at USD 0.34 per sms
About PIRRC: The Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Centre (www.pirrc.org) was established in November 2011 by Pacific Islands Forum Member Countries to assist island nations with their regulatory and policy needs in ICT. It is housed at the 4th Level of the Japan – Pacific ICT Centre at the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Bay Campus in Suva and funded by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and by its members. The PIRRC is headed by Director – Mr Muhammad Aslam Hayat, an ICT expert in law and policy from Pakistan. Mr Hayat was until his appointment as PIRRC Director a senior fellow with LIRNEasia, a Sri Lanka-based think-tank on ICT.
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