SOMARE DEFENDS PNG TELIKOM, WELCOMES COMPETITION

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By Veronica Manuk

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 2) - Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare will do everything possible to defend Telikom and at the same time support other mobile phone operators to operate in PNG.

Somare publicly announced this to the people of East New Britain during the launching of B Mobile network in Kerevat yesterday, which was attended by other newly elected members, who were in Kokopo to form the government.

As Telikom launched its network service in Kerevat, Digicel filled all of Kokopo town and Rabaul with its advertisement, products and opened its flagship shop in Papindo and three other main dealer shops.

Somare said there were a lot of criticisms in the work of Telikom but as the head of the Government, he had to defend Telikom. He said he was not stopping other mobile phone operators to operate in PNG as competition was for the best interest of the people. However, he said those operators had to comply with the regulations and laws of this country like registration of the business.

"PNG is an independent sovereign nation and we have the right to dictate what is happening here," the Prime Minister said.

He said Telikom was a State-owned entity and every year, it returned a dividend to the Government. Somare said its profit were money that remained in the country.

Meanwhile, Digicel (PNG) Ltd’s head of marketing Peter Watinga said Digicel would not like to be seen involved in politics. He said the main message Digicel wanted to tell the people of East New Britain was that it was now in the province and was offering the best service to benefit the rural population.

Digicel is taking two days, starting yesterday to launch and promote its mobile network service with famous musician Anslom Nakikus, who is the Digicel music ambassador performing live.

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