Unique opportunities anticipated in PNG’s telecom sector

Every township will be linked to every province in the country once Huawei Marine completes its proposed 5,400km of subsea cables around PNG’s coast.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the deal, which was signed two years ago, is part of the Government’s investment in undersea cabling.

During the October 31st Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the undersea cabling projects will create unique opportunities in the telecommunications sector.

“It can be noted that when Digicel increased investment in this sector, our GDP increased by 1 percent,” he told attendees during the breakfast at Hilton Hotel.

“So you know that this sector has a huge potential to strongly build confidence in our economy.

“We are talking to potential partners to take up investment in Telikom and bmobile and DataCo.

“We believe we need to increase our infrastructure capacities of those companies so that we can compete fairly with Digicel, which would mean a reduction in the rates that we are being charged in this sector.”

The deal with the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, which would build a network of submarine cables linking 14 towns in PNG, was not taken lightly by observers.

In response, Australia, USA and Japan were reported to be working on a counter offer.

Speaking to the ABC, acting US Ambassador to Australia, James Carouso, said the whole idea is to give alternatives.

“It's not to say 'don't do business with China'. China offers are on the table – it's up to us to be competitive.”

Carouso further said at the end of the day, it was up to the PNG Government.

Meantime, a Memorandum of Understanding for a trilateral project to deliver the Coral Sea Cable System was signed in July this year.

The prime ministers of PNG, Solomon Islands and Australia signed the MoU.

“We are also in advanced negotiations with Australia about expanding some opportunities around that,” stated O’Neill.

(Prime Minister Peter O’Neill)

Carmella Gware