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Solomon Islands Govt. & Telekom Begin Negotiations

Government Communications Unit
Office Of The Prime Minister And Cabinet
P O Box G1 Honiara, Solomon Islands

PRESS RELEASE

November 20 2008

Government and Telekom Begin Negotiations

Our Telekom must look forward to vigorous competition in telecommunications as the Government is now moving to open up competition in the industry.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua made the announcement last night during a function he hosted for the Chairman and Directors of Our Telekom to herald the beginning of negotiations between the Government and Our Telekom.

"The Government has announced that it wants the introduction of competition in telecommunications. We believe there will be benefits for our people and the businesses that operate in the Solomon Islands."

"However, we also recognise that our Telekom will be a critical participant in the competitive market. We look forward to Our Telekom competing vigorously and successfully in this new environment."

Dr Sikua said the government will ensure there will be a level playing field for the telecommunication services providers and a modern regulatory structure suitable for the Solomon Islands.

"We will be aiming to expand universal service while recognising the burden that Our Telekom currently bears in servicing rural customers," he said.

Negotiations with Our Telekom began yesterday between the Government represented by the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Fred Fono and officials from the Economic Reform Unit (ERU) of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and Our Telekom negotiator Mr Malcolm Webb.

Dr Sikua said the government acknowledges that there will be challenges ahead in finalising the negotiations with a number of complex issues to work through.

However, good will on both sides will make it possible to reach a successful conclusion early in 2009, said Dr Sikua.

ENDS

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