THIRD MOBILE PHONE COMPANY TO COMPETE IN PNG

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 26) - Papua New Guinea is set to have another telecommunication company set up before the end of this year as Green Communication breaks its silence to admit it is bringing in about PGK76 million [US$26 million] to start operations.

It has joined forces with Irish-owned mobile company, Digicel to negotiate with Telikom for inter-connection.

[PIR editor’s note: Green Communication is a subsidiary of Indonesian telecommunications company PT Dawamiba.]

The company’s executives are expected to arrive in the country this month to weigh up the telecommunication climate but the company is anticipating the PGK76 million will be released soon by the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

It is hoped that if the central bank releases the first PGK76 million, another lot of PGK457 million [US$167 million] will be transferred into the country to cement its operations.

But the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already given GreenCom something to think about..." if they are setting up, they should play it aggressively like Digicel is doing."

Reliable sources within the company confirmed yesterday that once the PGK76 million is released, the PGK457 million would be transferred into the country.

The sources confirmed yesterday that GreenCom is also negotiating for inter-connection, something many Papua New Guineans are keen to see happen immediately.

"Yes, it’s true, we are bringing in that amount of money (but) we have to get the approval from the Bank of PNG. We are following very carefully all due processes involved so that we don’t get into the sort of trouble Digicel is currently facing. GreenCom is negotiating with the relevant regulators for inter-connection but we must be patient," the source said.

However, PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Michael Mayberry said yesterday the telecommunication climate in the country was becoming very " competitively aggressive" and GreenCom should work out ways to cope with that trend.

"What has transpired from Digicel’s inception has transformed the telecommunication climate and we believe that’s the way it should be. Digicel set up and played the game very aggressively and if the third carrier (GreenCom) thinks it can do it more aggressively, there’s no reason to stop it," Mr Mayberry said.

However, he said, "I don’t think GreenCom will be very aggressive as Digicel but if they want to survive, they have to play it safe and aggressively," he said.

In July, GreenCom reportedly said it had set aside PGK632 million to erect its towers during that month and it was going to roll out its network the following month. It also said it would be selling its SIM cards for PGK10 compared to Digicel’s PGK20 and Telikom’s PGK25.

"There is potential for revenue if we all, including Telikom and Digicel come to terms. We can compete on the basis of service," GreenCom said.

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