Vodafone Fiji is investing $207 million Fijian dollars ($96.9 million) to expand its LTE-Advanced coverage to around 96% of the population, from the current 60%.
The operator has announced plans to expand the coverage of its “4G plus” network to almost all of Vanualevu, Tavueni, Rabi and the Laucala Island.
The 5G-ready upgrade will also cover expanding capacity to meet demand for high speed mobile broadband coverage in the uva-Nausori-Lami Corridor, and the Western Division areas.
The phased rollout program will involve expanding the number of base stations from 390 to more than 600, almost all of which will support LTE-Advanced. In addition, 100 existing 3G base station will be converted to 4G+ and pre-5G base stations.
Announcing the investment, Vodafone Fiji regional CEO Pradeep Lal said data usage on the company's network has surged from 10 petabytes to 400 petabytes over the past two years.
“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.”
Fiji's smartphone penetration has meanwhile grown to 78%, ahead of the global average of 75%, while the number of active connections to the Vodafone Fiji network now exceeds 1 million.