POST COURIER – Telikom PNG Limited and Bmobile will roll out a $US100 million 3G/4G next generation mobile phone network from April next year.
Telikom PNG CEO Michael Donnelly said the strategic partnership between Bmobile and the Vodafone UK Group would be beneficial to Telikom and Bmobile.
The two SOEs are currently building a new 3G/4G network to roll out throughout the country and Vodafone’s arrival gives the partnership an extra edge to compete effectively with the Irish-owned mobile phone company Digicel.
“I think the Vodafone deal in terms of branding does a couple of good things,” Donnelly said.
“As you know Telikom and Bmobile are building one new 3G/4G network across the country, we are co-investing in that and that stops any duplication of government investment in a very competitive mobile telephony network to compete with the major player and it will be very future ready.”
When asked when the new network will be ready, Donnelly said: “We believe it will be ready, certainly in POM (Port Moresby), it will be ready by April next year and across the country by the end of next year.”
“I mean we are talking $US100 million so we co-investing in that, we sharing resources where it makes sense and what the Vodafone deal does is it brings us a lot of know how or more specifically Bmobile, it brings it a lot of know how in terms of product market, product packaging, procurement because Vodafone is the single biggest purchaser of Huawei technology around the world.”
It is believed Digicel launched its 4G network in Port Moresby in March this year and has over 800 towers in different parts of PNG. It looks set to get 100 percent coverage by the end of this year according to staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Despite the challenges of running an SOE with both government and commercial interests, Mr Donnelly said his team’s focus will be to build competitive advantage with the support of Bmobile and its Vodafone partnership.
The recent acquisition of Steamships Trading Company subsidiary Datec is part of that overall strategy.
“What we are saying to the IPBC (Independent Public Business Corporation) and the minister is the best form of regulation is competition so what we are putting together is a coherent strategy based on a very compelling case for competition,” he said.
– Post Courier