Wednesday, November 2, Apia, Samoa: Digicel Pacific Ltd., the rapidly growing mobile operator in the South Pacific, has today announced a partnership with the Pacific Islander Rugby team, now to be called the ‘Digicel Pacific Islanders’.
Digicel will become the official sponsor of the Pacific Islanders Rugby team, and the official mobile and communications provider of the team. The new sponsorship deal will help Digicel promote its mobile business across the Pacific.
“Our partnership with the Pacific Islanders rugby team is an exciting new development in the growth of Digicel in this region and the team can rely on our full support in helping them achieve their goal of competing with the tier one nations” said Digicel Pacific Founder and Chairman, Denis O’Brien.
“Digicel is committed to building a seamless Pan Pacific GSM network that places the entire region at the cutting-edge of wireless technology. Nothing unites the Pacific region as much as a passion for rugby. Partnership with Pacific rugby allows us to foster personal and professional connections between nations and our customers as we build out our operations” added Denis O’Brien.
Announcement of the one year sponsorship follows the launch of Digicel Samoa yesterday. The launch in Samoa marks the beginning of Digicel’s Pan Pacific roll out. The new GSM network brings state of the art technology to Samoa and facilitates superior coverage by providing 80% population coverage in Samoa. As part of their launch, Digicel Samoa is offering free GSM handsets to over 33,000 TDMA subscribers.
“Our involvement with Digicel for Pacific Island Rugby is inspiring when you consider that Digicel has a strong track record of delivering world class mobile telecommunications through its sister company in the Caribbean and the Pacific has a strong track record of delivering world class rugby players. This sponsorship is a perfect opportunity of leveraging the rapid growth reality of Digicel and its experience of other major sponsorships such as West Indies Cricket and Caribbean Football Union.” said Digicel Pacific Islanders Chief Executive, Mr. Sakopo Lolohea.
Comprised of players from the rugby unions of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, the Digicel Pacific Islanders first came together in 2004 to represent hopes of all Pacific Island nations in gaining access to top-tier international rugby competition while generating support for its member rugby unions.
In their 2004 tour, the Islanders tested themselves against the best in the world, and although they didn’t achieve any all-out victories, their tour was considered highly successful as the new team managed ten tries in games against three of the toughest Tier 1 competitors, the All Blacks, Wallabies, and Springboks.
This time around the Digicel Pacific Islanders face more top-line competition, playing Wales on November 11th at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, and then moving on to Murrayfield in Edinburgh to meet Scotland on November 18th. The third and final match of the tour is against Ireland at Landsdowne Road in Dublin on November 26th.
On their tour, the Digicel Pacific Islanders will be coached by Pat Lam, currently coaching the Auckland rugby team. “This year the Digicel Pacific Islanders selection will have a distinct difference in that the selection process this year we decided that we could only pick players that had committed to making themselves available for their island nations in next year’s World Cup” said Digicel Pacific Islanders Coach, Mr. Pat Lam.
“We are thrilled to be launching the first of the Digicel Pan Pacific operations in Samoa and its appropriate that as Digicel presents the best coverage, best value, best service and best choice into the Pacific, that we take the best rugby in Digicel Pacific Islanders and combine our synergies to achieve collective excellence” said Vanessa Slowey, CEO of Digicel Pacific Ltd. “This launch represents the first step in what promises to be a very exciting journey.”