A year ago, I took a month’s vacation and enjoyed the coral, sugar cane and sunshine of the small island nation of Mauritius. My days were spent drinking rum cocktails out of a dodo’s skull, my serendipity only occasionally interrupted by a small, translucent lizard darting across my ankle. On the other hand, the evenings were more dire, and largely spent waking fearfully every fifteen minutes only to discover several dozen small centipedes slowly skittering towards my bed, thirsty for eye jelly. No matter what time it was, the Internet sucked: although 3G was ubiquitous, the island’s internet was supplied by a single, badly oversaturated cable strung from Madagascar.
In other words, even in tropical paradise, there’s some horrors lurking unseen beneath the surface. The Mauritian iPhone sit rep is more proof for that supposition: while telecom Orange is indeed selling the iPhone in Mauritius, there’s no Mauritian App Store, leaving all local iPhone customers in the lurch.
It’s not so surprising. Mauritius’ 3G network is notoriously oversaturated, and the local infrastructure probably can’t handle the App Store. It seems like Apple could at least include some functionality to allow the user to download and open iPhone apps on their home wireless networks… although since most of the WiFi I saw in Mauritius was also supplied by 3G routers, that wouldn’t make any difference. A strange dilemma, to be sure.
Regardless, if you’d like to help Mauritians out, many local iPhone owners have set up a Facebook page to garner support. It couldn’t hurt to go over and become a fan, but I suspect this isn’t a situation of Apple’s making, and one that probably won’t be solved until Mauritius solves its 3G woes.