Making a call anywhere in the Pacific is the cheapest in Samoa, studies have shown.
Two recent studies by the Suva-based Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Centre (PIRRC) proved this and also revealed that Kiribati, Niue and Tuvalu have the most expensive rates, with tariff ranging between $3.53 and $4.95 per minute.
A statement released by the PIRRC said the study on Intra Regional IDD Calls took one month to conduct with the results released during the 5th Asia Pacific Telecommunity Forum on Policy and Regulation, which was held at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island this week.
The PIRRC also used the APT Forum to release the result of its second study on Mobile Roaming Charges within Pacific Island Countries.
On mobile roaming charges, Vodafone Fiji, the study said offered the cheapest rate when receiving calls on roaming while visiting Tonga at 97c a minute, the second PIRRC study shows. Cook Islands mobile roaming in Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu on the other hand was the most expensive, at $6.46 per minute.
PIRRC's research assistant, Shivanjni Anamika who conducted the two studies said in both fixed lines and mobile telephones, Samoa had one of the cheapest rates when calling other islands of the Pacific. Tariff ranges from 59 cents to $1.38 per minute.
"Calling Solomon Islands from the Federated States of Micronesia got the most expensive inter Pacific IDD rate, costing $5.74 a minute. Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Papua New Guinea use fixed standard rates when using a fixed telephone to call other island countries.
"For mobile IDD calls, Tonga provides relatively the cheapest mobile rates, the PIRRC study shows. Tonga mobile IDD rates range from 62c and 88c per minute. Kiribati and Tuvalu on the other hand have the highest rates of $4.41 and $5.31. Again Samoa claims the cheapest mobile IDD rate when it comes to calling Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Tonga from Samoa, with tariff sitting at 44c a minute."
Calling from Palau to Nauru and Niue on mobile telephones was the most expensive. The rate is $8.97 per minute. Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Solomon Islands employ a standard mobile IDD rate.
"The result of the study confirms what the industry already knows; countries that have opened up their market to competition tend to offer customers cheaper rates," Muhammad Aslam Hayat, director of PIRRC said.
Ms Anamika added a reason for the studies was to offer motivation to operators to review their IDD rates, as well as to urge regulators of the telecom industry to look into pricing. She said the study would be particularly beneficial to consumers.
This study also shows that:
* Sending SMS while roaming with a Nauru SIM is the most expensive at $1.59 per text
* Sending SMS from Tonga while roaming with a Fiji SIM is cheapest at 61c per text.