Competition in any marketplace is mostly good for consumers—and good for business. It benefits consumers by keeping prices low and the quality and choice of products and services high. It also benefits businesses by promoting innovation—improvements to make products different—and to make them better in ways consumers want.
More choices, better prices, and higher quality are good for you the consumer. Companies go into business to make money. To do that, they make products that you want to buy, and sell them at a price that you’re willing to pay. But this is not the case with Vodafone Fiji.
Vodafone Fiji CEO (Aslam Khan) and the Chairman of ATH (Ajit Godagoda) use their close ties with the illegal AG khaiyum to force government departments into buying their lower quality products and poor services at higher prices than digicel. And all these corrupt practices appear to be endorsed and supported by Vodafone Australia and their parent company Vodafone Group Plc.
Vodafone and Digicel are the two main mobile service providers in Fiji. They both want your business. And under a normal functioning democratic system of government they, like any other business, would compete for your money—and your loyalty—on many levels that include price, selection, service, and quality, to name just a few. However:
Vodafone Fiji has added another level to compete for your money and your loyalty—corruption.
Vodafone monopolized Fiji’s mobile services for over 13 years
Vodafone Fiji, is a partnership with Amalgamated Telecom Holding Fiji and the Vodafone Group Plc, providing mobile telecommunications services to Fiji customers.
Vodafone's Fiji network went live in July 1994. They were the only service providers, and for over 13 years they monopolized the Fiji mobile market. Consumers had no other choice so they had to pay the very high rates charged by Vodafone. This monopoly of the mobile phone market enabled Vodafone to charge very high rates for their services, becoming the Vodafone Group’s 10th largest earner. Some bloggers recall having to pay almost $2 per minute for a call with vodafone.
As with any monopoly, business was booming for Vodafone and, over the years, this led to Vodafone Fiji paying themselves very high salaries, well above local Fiji rates. Vodafone also became complacent and arrogant with their customer services. Ex-customers recall having to wait for days to have their problems seen to by Vodafone. And often, they said, you had to keep going back to have the same old problem fixed. With digicel, your problems are dealt with immediately and if there was a problem with the phone they would just replace it.
Competition for Vodafone arrived in October 2008, in the form of Digicel Fiji Limited who brought more affordable cellular phones as well as lower service costs and better quality of after sales services. The people of Fiji benefitted immensely.
Unfortunately, vodafone fiji’s high salaries and high operating costs meant that they could not effectively compete with Digicel’s low pricing and more effective customer services. Therefore, Vodafone has been losing market share to Digicel. Vodafone also refuses to lower its salaries or reduce benefits given to staff, especially to the CEO who is reported to being paid well over $500,000 plus bonuses. Aslam Khan is also giving copies of vodafone customer text messages and phone calls to the Fiji military who have used the information to illegally arrest, intimidate and beat citizens.
Vodafone Fiji is unable to compete on price, quality of services and coverage, therefore Aslam Khan and Ajit godagoda turned to Khaiyum to help them to remove competition. Aslam Khan and Ajit Godagoda demanded that all government departments must support vodafone because it was partly owned by the Fiji government. But government had given Digicel a licence to operate in Fiji, meanwhile Vodafone had objected and went to court in an attempt to stop digicel entering the market. Vodafone failed in its attempt then.
So now government departments are being forced into using vodafone’s higher priced and poor quality services. Irrespective if there is another better priced and better quality service and better coverage being provided by digicel.
The CEO's of government owned entities and heads of government departments, who are responsible for spending government funds efficiently and effectively, have no option but to accept vodafone as their service provider or be removed from office.
A number of CEO's indicated that they had been intimidated by Khaiyum and his PS Elizabeth Powell into using vodafone - even though vodafone was chargeing 30% more than what digicel had offered and the vodoafone services were not as reliable as digicel. This didn't matter, they all have to now use vodafone.
Competition brings lower rates to Fiji consumers
The whole reason for allowing digicel into Fiji in the first place was to provide the people with competitive prices and improved services. Unfortunately, Vodafone will not reduce their operating costs and their high salaries or improve their services. Therefore, Vodafone has been losing market share and now has to use corruption and intimidation to force government departments into using their services. Sources have repeatedly testified that khaiyum and the dictator bainimarama receive regular kickbacks from vodafone.
Sadly this practice is supported by Vodafone Australia and its parent company the Vodafone Group plc. As long as vodafone fiji is providing high revenue returns then the Vodafone Group plc is not concerned about the CEO of Vodafone Fiji’s illegal, devious and corrupt practices. So much for the vodafone brand, which has fast become a symbol and standard of corruption in Fiji.
The Vodafone Group may claim to be the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States through the company's subsidiary undertakings, joint ventures, associated undertakings and investments. But it is deliberately turning a blind eye to the corrupt and illegal practices of its vodafone Fiji CEO. All in the name of profit and at the expense of the people of Fiji.
Vodafone Fiji, under Aslam Khan, and with its very high salaries and operating costs and poor quality of services is unable to effectively compete with Digicel. Subsequently, it has lost and is continuing to lose considerable market share to Digicel Fiji limited. More and more people are making the switch to digicel, so now Vodafone is using dirty tactics, lies and false accusations to hang on to the lucrative government department customers who, with their minimum budgets, are being forced to accept vodafone’s higher rates and lower quality products and services.