By Melisha Yafoi in Port Moresby
Vodafone has made its entry back into the Papua New Guinea market as Digitec-Vodafone to operate as the third mobile operator company.
In the next two weeks the PNG market will see the new look Vodafone operate in 25 different locations of the country, selling mobile phones and SIM cards to customers by April 21, 2022.
Minister for Information and Communication Technology Timothy Masiu announced this last night at the launching of the new look Digitec office in Port Moresby.
With around 3 million current users in the existing networks, Masiu said there was room for another operator to create competition and bring prices down and this had now happened with Digitec-Vodafone’s entry.
He said Digitec’s investment showed trust and confidence in PNG’s economy.
“On behalf of the Marape government, I welcome your entry into the PNG market,” Masiu said.
“It is the government’s policy objective to promote sustainable competition in the information and communications technology sector and to ensure affordability, accessibility, connectivity and we believe your entry into the market as the third mobile telecommunication operator will rejuvenate competition in the market.”
Headquarters in PNG
He said having the headquarters in PNG showed the government their commitment towards investing in the country’s telecommunications sector.
The move comes against the backdrop of a “super tax” saga, where market dominance levy in the sector has created a stir with the enforcement of an additional K350 million demanded by the state following reports of Digicel refusing to pay.
This is amid fears that the deal between Telstra Australia and the dominant Digicel PNG would fall through, impacting on any new entrants into the lucrative mobile communications market.
Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil said Digitec had a history in the Pacific for more than two decades and was known as an ICT technology sector innovator.
He said a strong ICT was vital for a strong economy and essential for healthy communities.
“Having access to modern technology was no longer for the rich or the big cities as it had been 20 years ago,” Basil said.
“Now, right down to village level, our people need access to technology.
“This is to conduct small businesses, stay in touch with loved ones and to access medical care.”
Tough business arena
Basil said ICT was a tough business to engage in, especially now that there were major changes in the sector with greater investment and competition.
“As a businessman, and now as a political leader, I believe that competition is healthy,” he said.
“It makes company operations more efficient and delivers savings to our people.
“I encourage the workers and management at Digitec to continue to provide outstanding service to our people and the business community.”
Digitec CEO Nirmal Singh said the country would in the next few weeks see some great products that he company would bring to the market.
Melisha Yafoi is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.