PNG TELECOM PLANS $121 MILLION UPGRADE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 31) – Telikom is going through PGK355 million (US$121 million) worth of changes to keep its customers happier and to ward off threatened competition to its communications monopoly in Papua New Guinea.

The changes will include a major revamp of attitudes towards work and customers, say insiders at the corporation.

Another part of the program is to launch a major offensive against criminals and vandals who tamper with Telikom equipment - with full support from the Telikom workers union and police - by next month.

Change has already begun, with chief executive officer Martin Veisame winding up in the job today and the board advertising his job internationally - although it’s open to Papua New Guineans also.

Senior staff said Noel Mobiha, the chief of Pacific Mobile Communication Co Ltd - the wholly owned Telikom subsidiary - which operates the rapidly spreading mobile phone network, will be out of action until at least the end of the year. He had reportedly suffered a heart attack and was recuperating from surgery.

Pacific Mobile Communication is in the throes of being merged with Telikom, paving the way for one set of management and one set of directors to run the landline phone service and the mobile network.

It is believed contract management experts will arrive from overseas by December to begin short-term training of staff to solve complaints about service and performance.

Telikom chairman, Dr. Florian Gubon, recently announced board plans to tackle what he called the "unacceptable service levels and performance’’ of Telikom. As part of this work, Telikom plans to extend services in rural and remote communities.

An update sent to leaders of the business community last week said there were more than 200 strategic tasks and projects going on to revive Telikom operation. Among them are plans to:

November 1, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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