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96% population to have 4G plus coverage


Mar 15, 2019 03:23:46 PM

96% population to have 4G plus coverage Vodafone Fiji today announced that 4G plus coverage will be expanded to almost all of Fiji covering estimated 96 percent of the population from the current 60 percent.

While providing an update on its $207m capital investment in its network infrastructure, Vodafone Fiji’s Regional Chief Executive, Mr. Pradeep Lal said this is very good news for all of Fiji as apart from the capacity upgrade to meet the huge demand for high speed mobile broadband coverage in the Suva-Nausori-Lami Corridor and the Western Division, 4G plus coverage will be extended to cover almost all of Vanualevu, Tavueni, Rabi and the Laucala Island.

Mr. Lal also revealed that for the first time in Fiji, the company will have Pre-5G services available to over 50 percent of the Fijian population after the completion of the network upgrade.

“As a mobile network provider, we will also be Future Ready for introduction of 5G services and after the completion of this network upgrade, customers will get high speed mobile broadband, access to high speed broadband and new applications aimed at supporting digital transformation.”

“We are preparing to offer high speed mobile connectivity as the volume of data exchanged particularly from services like ultra-HD video streaming. The content and services of the future will require even more bandwidth and high speed”

“We are now more than just a telecom operator. We’re a player involved in everything essential to our customer’s growth in the digital economy including digital financial services.”

“Increasing smartphone penetration and higher growth rate in data consumption has reshaped our industry. The focus will be more on cloud based products.”

“We are ready to take our customers on the next wave of network technology evolution. The future is indeed exciting.”

Mr. Lal said data usage on the Vodafone Fiji network has increased to 400% over the last 2 years from 10 Petabyte to 400 Petabyte. (1 Petabyte = 1 x10 5 bytes).

“Globally, for network technology providers like us, the demand for data is driven largely by Internet of Things (IoT) and the need for access to data at any time anywhere,” he said.

“It has therefore become a business imperative for network technology providers like Vodafone to provide ubiquitous access to data 24/7.”

Every electronic gadget that now gets produced in the world comes with the option to be connected to the internet either through a SIM card or WIFI.”

“Furthermore, there is significant shift in user behavior for data. From just reading and browsing the internet for information, today it is about watching videos.”

 “This is a result of high penetration (78%) of smart phones in Fiji compared to global benchmark of 75%. Viewing videos online consume far more data and network bandwidth compared to traditional internet.”

“This shift in user behavior has pushed data usage through the roof.”

“As a business, Vodafone has recognized this trend, and accordingly committed substantial budget to ensure there is sufficient capacity and headroom to cater for the anticipated demand for data growth in future.”

Mr. Lal said Vodafone Fiji has become the primary internet provider for Fiji and has over 1 million active connections on the network as customers have multiple data and voice connections.

“The Smartphone Penetration stands at 78% in the Fiji market and this is above the global benchmark of 75%. Data growth has been phenomenal and in the last 2 year data usage has grown by 400%.”

He added that the smartphone penetration is expected to reach 80% in 2019 due to the availability of competitively priced smartphones in the market.

The Phased roll-out program will see 100 existing 3G base stations convert to 4G plus and Pre-5G base stations and this will be completed by the end of this month.

The total number of base stations will also increase from the current 390 to more than 600 base stations around the country.

By Reginald Chandar

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