DIGICEL STARTUP DELAYED IN PAPUPA NEW GUINEA

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Poor connection service by partner Telikom PNG blamed

By Frank Asaeli

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 29, 2008) – Mobile phone users hoping for interconnection this Sunday can forget it.

Digicel said yesterday it cannot interconnect because Telikom was not ready.

This charge was rejected by Telikom, who accused Digicel of playing its usual delay tactics.

Digicel sources said interconnection is unlikely to happen this Sunday because interconnection tests identified a problem in Telikom’s network where SMSs sent from Digicel network were failing to be delivered by the Telikom network.

"Telikom has only commissioned three of the eight signaling links at Port Moresby’s PoI (point of interconnection). Signaling is required to set up calls. The number of calls each signaling link can handle at any time is approximately 100," one source said.

Failure to provide sufficient E1 capacity and signaling links would mean that expected interconnection traffic could not be handled and would lead to many customers being unable to use the interconnection service due to congestion.

"The link between the networks in Port Moresby provided by Telikom must have redundancy. Redundancy means that if there is a problem, calls can still be made while the problem is fixed," the source said.

Interconnection testing identified a further problem in Telikom’s network where Telikom was not capturing all the interconnection billing information, the source added.

A failure to capture this information will lead to disputes between Telikom and Digicel over the correct amount to be paid for interconnecting calls.

Telikom is working to resolve the problem on the Telikom network but has been unable to provide a date for when their problem will be fixed, the source said.

Links between the networks at the PoIs at Port Moresby, Lae, Morobe and Kokopo are being installed also by Telikom which are required for fixed line to mobile or mobile to fixed line interconnection.

So far both mobile companies have concluded testing in Port Moresby and Telikom have completed the link in the city only with a 90-page document produced but these issues have to be sorted out before interconnection.

The commercial part is also outstanding.

A commercial agreement called the access agreement must be entered into by Telikom and Digicel for interconnection to be launched commercially.

Telikom has to confirm that it is happy to sign the latest draft to allow interconnection to be launched as soon as it resolves its technical issues.

However, a source from Telikom said Digicel is just trying to delay things.

"We have been ready since Jan 31. Digicel is trying to avoid the issue (of interconnection)," he said.

Telikom is just about to finish with the other PoIs; Telikom was at all times ready to comply with the Government’s request to interconnect, the source said.

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