“Today we’ve achieved a milestone in price affordability,” said Jules Maher, Telecom Cook Islands chief executive officer.
The study was undertaken by New Zealand-based telecommunications consultancy, Network Strategies.
“We are now the most affordable amongst broadband and mobile pricing among the 12 other pacific nations that are compared in this study,” he said.
At an event at Telecom headquarters, Maher highlighted mobile services, SMS use, prepaid use, high-level use, light-level data, low-level data, and mobile data as categories where the Cook Islands is leading in affordability.
“We’re over the moon, because this hasn’t come about from chance,” said Maher, who arrived at Telecom in late 2009.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a number of years to compare ourselves to other Pacific island nations and to get ourselves improved with our pricing, with the value were giving our customers, and giving better services.”
According to an earlier 2010 Network Strategies report, the Cook Islands previously ranked sixth for most affordable for low-volume mobile use and fifth for high volume mobile use among 12 Pacific island nations compared.
Improving telecommunications is vital to economic growth, said Maher. He cited a study by the UK-based GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication) that found increasing mobile penetration by 10 per cent “increases productivity by 4.2 percentage points in developing countries.”
Comparisons to Australia and New Zealand aren’t particularly fair, said Maher, as the Cooks are geographically isolated and the populations are quite different. But the company vows to continue to strive towards greater telecommunications affordability.
“We’re not resting on our laurels with this. We want to get better again.”
New equipment called O3b which is designed to deliver faster broadband, should be operational by October, said Maher, with additional service announcements to come at a later date.