Rates dropped during network issues: CEO

Rates were dropped during the interruptions experienced by the Digicel network.

The issue started at 2pm on Friday, preventing customers from purchasing Digicel’s data and voice bundles.

CEO Colin Stone said it was brought to their attention immediately, where Digicel responded by dropping voice and data out of bundle rates to enable customers to still use the service.

“As well as that, we saw people could not buy the TV services that we offer,” Stone stated. “So we made TV free-to-air for the weekend. That way customers could still keep abreast of current events; they could still watch their TV during that period.”

Stone says all services have returned to normal since Monday night, where he acknowledged the team of billing system engineers in Port Moresby for resolving the issue.

He explained that the billing system is a complex set of databases and systems put together to enable all the services within PNG to run. Digicel had a problem with a few of those parts during the weekend.

“That problem took a while to resolve, and the reason it took a while to resolve is because we wanted to get it right. We didn’t want to face further outages. But the team here worked around the clock; some of them did not sleep for over 48 hours to ensure that the system came back online and that our customers could purchase those bundles again on our network.

“The billing system here in Port Moresby is complex, and we have a team of over 30 engineers – based here – that support the system. We did get support from our team in Fiji as well, and because they run a very similar billing system in Fiji, and so we brought in every expert we could to try and resolve the problem as soon as possible.”

In relation to the weekend’s interruption, Digicel customers who top up from now until Thursday midnight will get double credits. The daily limit is K100.

“It’s our way of saying we had a problem, and it’s our way of giving back to our loyal customers that stick with us. Our current active subscribers is over 2 million. But the reality is if we look at our network, we estimate we cover about 80 percent of the population that’s able to use the Digicel service.”

(Digicel CEO Colin Stone)

Carmella Gware