PNG GOVERNMENT RENEWS TELIKOM’S 10-YEAR LICENSE

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By Christine Pakakota

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 16) - Papua New Guinea Telecommunications Technical Authority (Pangtel) yesterday renewed Telikom’s spectrum license for another 10 years.

The license was consequential to its licenses as general carrier, mobile carrier and value-added service provider.

Pangtel acting director general Charles Punaha explained that the license was in the form of a spectrum usage agreement (SUA), granting Telikom spectrum rights and access to spectrum for GSM mobile services, terrestrial microwave links, satellite links and other services ranging from high frequency to 13GHz for the next 10 years.

He added that the spectrum license was consequential to the carrier license issued by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC).

[PIR editor’s note: The government-owned Telikom PNG is currently a monopoly in the country, although competitors are attempting to enter the mobile phone market.]

Telikom and Pangtel entered into an SUA in 1999, which was renewed in 2001 and expires on October 17.

The renewal follows extensive negotiations between technical and regulatory expert teams from both Pangtel and Telikom and was consistent with the Radio Spectrum Act 1997 and Telecommunications Act 1996.

"Telikom is the single largest spectrum user due to the fact that in a thinly populated country with a rugged terrain as PNG, radio is the only cost-effective way to put together the public switched telecommunication network and mobile network that Telikom had been operating in the country," Mr. Punaha said.

He said radio frequencies were used for various radio links including the wide capacity backbone bearer and its branches and entrance links to most exchanges in the country.

Complementary to the terrestrial network, Telikom had significant satellite back up capacity that also reaches remote areas.

For its mobile network, Telikom has access to one-third of the available 900MHz spectrum equal to Digicel.

Telikom also operates rural subscriber systems and HF services reaching many areas where other means of communications are uneconomical. For its mobile network, Telikom has access to one-third of the available 900MHz spectrum equal to Digicel.

During the press conference, PANGTEL also handed over the first 23 dealer’s licenses to Telikom.

"Under the legislation which we operate, we issue dealers’ license to sell radio equipment including mobile phones."

Punaha said Telikom never had the dealer’s license previously because it was not selling mobile phones until recently.

"As part of the review discussion for the SUA, our officers have also concluded negotiations on the terms and agreements for the issuance of the dealers licenses for Telikom and they will be issued dealers license nationwide. Telikom estimates to have 100 sites.

"Telikom has declared that they will be selling mobile phones. These licenses will be displayed at all the shops."

Telikom chief executive officer Peter Loko acknowledged the support of PANGTEL in allowing negotiations to come this far to be formalized.

"I want to acknowledge the co-operation of Charles Punaha and his team from PANGTEL

"It (the license) allows us to do everything above all, we want to do the right thing, and everything we do is within the law and the Telecommunications Act and within the framework."

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