MANY may not know but when it comes to mobile technology solutions, Fiji is quite advanced than most countries, even the United Kingdom and the US.
And those that have placed Fiji in such high regard are engineers ù made in Fiji by the way ù who have been creating innovative solutions that assist their employers as well as customers saving money.
At 27 years old, Santosh Payal is already rubbing shoulders with men almost twice his age attending world conferences.
Mr Payal, a senior engineer at Vodafone Fiji, recently returned from attending a world mobile phone conference in Amsterdam where he was a speaker.
In fact, his speech was so good, he received a standing ovation.
"The conference was attended by big players in the industry such as Huawei, Nokia, Alcatel as well as IT companies like Microsoft and Oracle," Mr Payal said.
He spoke on Fiji's telecommunications industry, the challenges of high internet charged and the solutions provided by Vodafone Fiji to meet these challenges.
In particular, he spoke about his role at Vodafone Fiji and how he and the team of engineers come up with innovative solutions that lead to savings.
For example, in the provision of the internet service, Vodafone has "dissected" the internet "pipes" and created profiles.
What the engineers have arrived at are tailor-made solutions for customers. Different packages have been offered for the customers.
"We all know that one size does not fit all. For example, for businesses they are not as price sensitive as tertiary students and are likely to use skype and make a lot of conference calls while students are likely to use Facebook and You Tube more," Mr Payal said.
The packages are for both prepay and post pay broadband customers (those who use flashnets). In the near future, the packages would also be available on mobile phones.
Another solution created by the engineers is the capture of internet traffic. Since, internet traffic going out of Fiji is expensive for both Vodafone and customers, Mr Payal said they have tried to keep the traffic in Fiji.
Vodafone Fiji now is keeping videos that people would normally want to watch on You Tube.
"For example, the London Sevens ù we will store a copy of the video here to keep the internet traffic going out of Fiji, this is less cost for the customers and savings for us.
"We call these caching solutions," Mr Payal said.
The former Natabua High School student has been with Vodafone Fiji since he graduated six and a half years ago.
But he has not stopped studying ù he has postgraduate qualifications from the UK, project management qualification from Australia and is completing a Masters of Business Administration degree at the University of the South Pacific.
"I love this job because it gives me a lot of opportunities to create things and the customers push us to be innovative and come up with solutions," Mr Payal said.