PNG OPTS IN FAVOR OF TELECOM MONOPOLY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, July 2) – Papua New Guinea’s National Executive Council has made a decision to effectively stop any mobile competition in the country and competition will be delayed by another 12 months.

Consumer watchdog, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), is understood to have been advised to recall the mobile phone carrier licenses it issued to Digicel (PNG) Limited and Dawamiba (PNG) Limited which intends to trade in the country as Green Communications.

According to NEC documents, the National Executive Council has agreed to split the State owned telecommunications monopoly Telikom PNG Limited into two companies – NetCO, which will be the wholesale infrastructure services provider, and ServCo which will be the retail services provider. Both entities will be 100 State owned will have separate boards and management appointed under the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) Act.

In a special meeting (25/2007) held on June 21, the National Information Communication and Technology Policy 2007 (ICT) and the Telecommunications De-Regulation Blueprint.

In the meeting the NEC also rescinded its decision 257/2005 which it approved the issuance of two additional mobile phone carrier licenses and replaced it with a new decision which declared that any license purported to have been issued by the ICCC under NEC decision 257/2005 are void on the basis that they were not issued on terms consistent with Government policy (as required by the Government Telecommunication Act). The NEC directed the ICCC to issue two public mobile telephony carrier licenses on terms which were consistent with the amended Government policy including without limitation, the NetCo — ServCo operational separation model as set out in the National Information Communication and Technology policy 2007.

Under the decision, the ICCC has also been directed to issue further license to Telikom ServCo, again on the terms which were consistent with the amended Government policy.

Under the direction of the NEC, the three licenses should have a commencement date of October 17 this year with competition among the licensees to be operationally effective by no later than Sept-ember 1 next year.

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