Lolo designates A.S.T.C.A. as government phone company

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR: Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNOR: Lolo Matalasi Moliga.

The American Samoa Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has ordered the government’s designated phone company for internet, landlines and cellular  phones to be the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority. 

In American Samoa, there are only two phone companies, A.S.T.C.A. and BlueSky Communications. 

According to Talanei, all directors, Chief Executive Officers of Authorities and offices of the American Samoa Government are now required to use only the services of A.S.T.C.A.

A memo from Governor Lolo Moliga dated August 15 spells this out.

The governor said it makes no economic and financial sense for components of the American Samoa Government not to lend support or to patronize services offered by other government entities.

He said while authority was given to them to manage and lead their respective A.S.G. departments, officer or authorities, they all are bound and under the umbrella of A.S.G, and as such they should function collaboratively to ensure that all units of government operate optimally.

Lolo says this philosophy and ideology should be practiced consistently and uniformly throughout the government.

But he writes regrettably this is not the case when it comes to the telecommunication needs of authorities, departments and agencies,

According to the governor there are now units of A.S.G. obtaining telecommunication services from A.S.T.C.A’s competitor. Bluesky is never mentioned in the memo but it’s obvious that’s the competitor that the memo refers to.

“In light of this revelation,” writes Governor Lolo, “this policy pronouncement is articulated requiring all instrumentalities of A.S.G. to procure telecommunication services from the American Samoa Telecommunications Authority.”

He adds, “We can find all types of excuses to justify our current practice of purchasing telecommunication services from another vendor.” 

“We cannot continue to undermine the viability of this asset of the American Samoa Government.”

Earlier this month, Bluesky in Samoa and American Samoa came under new ownership. The Office of the Regulator has approved the sale to a Fiji-government owned company, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (A.T.H.).  

This was confirmed by the Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti in response questions from the Sunday Samoan. She said the approval was made in June 2017.  

“Please be informed that my Office conveyed approval of transfer of control of the current Bluesky Samoa Limited to A.T.H. sometime in June this year,” she said.  

“Subsequent to the review of their application with relevant information provided and sought in accordance with section 31 of the Telecommunications Act (“the Act”); with the view of promoting the objectives of the Act enshrined under section 3 of the same Act.” 

The approval follows a submission made to the Office of the Regulator last September. The Sunday Samoan understands that the “acquisition of BlueSky Group is for F$169Million.” 

The approval has also been posted on A.T.H.’s website.  “Following the signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (S.P.A.) on 23, September 2016, it has received formal regulatory approval for change of control of BlueSky Samoa Limited from Amper SA to A.T.H.”  

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