fiji's world-class facility lured global call centre
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The presence of world-class telecommunication access in Fiji is what helped global call center, MindPearl establish itself here.

This after searching for suitable locations in at least 15 countries, says MindPearl’s chief executive officer William Pattison.

In an interview with FijiLive, Pattison said they had been searching over the last four years for a suitable location to set up a contact center and decided on Fiji, where it is expected to start operations in September offering some 3000 jobs over the next three years.

“We’ve been looking for a location that fitted the following criteria: one, it had to have a first world telecommunications infrastructure; two, English language skills that are easily understood by customers in USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and; 3, readily available staff.

“We went through a total of 15 countries and Fiji was able to provide all three of those. That’s why we’re here,” Pattison said.

“We looked at numerous countries within the African continent, we looked at the Indian subcontinent, Mauritius, American Samoa, Saipan and other islands within this region and none of them could provide me with all those three ticks in a box,” he added.

He said the decision to operate in Fiji was especially helped by the deregulation of Fiji’s telecommunications markets, particularly the opening of international telecom access on July 17th.

“That has incredibly contributed. We wouldn’t have come without it. We would be participating through one of the local companies most definitely. But I mean when I say that we have to find a place with first world telecommunications infrastructure, there are other islands in this region that could provide English speaking, they could provide available staff, but they couldn’t provide that (world class telecommunication access).

“If we take countries such as Vanuatu, Tarawa, they could provide the first two but they can’t provide the third one. So the third factor is incredibly important to us,” Pattison said.

MindPearl, whose business background reveals its goals to provide “full contact centre facilities and services to a consortium of 11 airlines, flying globally to over 400 destinations across all time zones,” was established in 1999 and became independently owned in 2006.

It has become a household name in the international airline business.

In Fiji, it has signed on Air Pacific and will handle all of the national airline’s reservations, ticket purchases, travel queries and booking functions but Pattison said most of its work will be offshore-based.

“We didn’t come to Fiji planning to get Air Pacific. We are very happy we’ve got them as a customer but that certainly wasn’t part of our criteria for coming here. Air Pacific is going to constitute about 30 seats, it could move to 50, however, long term, our office will have 3000 people. So by far majority of the business will come from overseas,” he said.

MindPearl’s establishment in Fiji was seen as a positive development by the Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau, whose chief executive officer Annie Rogers believes the liberalization of the international telecommunication gateway augured well for investors in the call center business as it provided them with a choice in connectivity pricing.