Telikom PNG Monopoly In Papua New Guinea Must Stop!

Sorry folks for the delay in my posting. I have been preparing for a conference in Osaka so have not been sitting down to write. Well, today, I did my presentation and decided to visit an Internet Cafe next to my hotel to write this. My hotel had Internet line but I did not carry my laptop so had to come to this Internet Cafe.

When first started this blog, one of the very first posting was about the monopoly enjoyed by Telikom PNG in Papua New Guinea. In that posting, I talked about how expensive Internet is in PNG. One of the prime reasons is because of the the monopoly currently enjoyed by Telikom PNG. Sometime last year I was a signatory to a petition to the minister concerned for Information Communication Technology (ICT) regarding this very issue. And at that time the minister made a statement saying a policy was being prepared regarding ICT in PNG and will be tabled before the government. Read my earlier post. Another related post is here.

Now we read in the newspapers that the policy is not ready! And the general elections are around the corner. To add more confusion, the chief secretary is saying that the policy is ready and that the minister is misleading the public. So who is telling the truth??

That policy was apparantly opposed by Telikom PNG. Because if the policy is implemented, this will allow other telecommunication companies to enter the PNG market.

I admit, I am not a telecommunication engineer nor an economist to know enough to comment on the rights and wrongs of ending the Telikom PNG monopoly. But I am a consumer. And I want a cheap, reliable and efficient phone (mobile or land-line) service and I want to have Internet connection in my home so I can continue to write on my blog.  My foundation economics tells me that if there is competition in the market, the prices will drop! At the current rates, I do not think I will be able to afford a phone line, a home Internet line and have a good dinner. I am sure other middle income earners in PNG also want the convenience of these services.

The minister must come out clear and tell us all what really is going on. BEFORE THE ELECTIONS!

I as a consumer would prefer the monopoly enjoyed by Telikom PNG to end. I want to have a choice. Right now I don’t. I am at the mercy of Telikom PNG.


UPDATE: 24.07.2013

It is now 2013 and Digicel has been in PNG for sometime now. The mobile phone rates were cheap when Digicel first entered the PNG market but now I talk for less and pay more.

Poor Telikom/BMobile is trying its best to keep up with Digicel. Its mobile rates are cheaper but their coverage rates are terrible so we are not able to access their cheap rates.

I don’t know about Citiphone. They are a small player and finding their feet.

I read sometime back that Vodafone Fiji will enter PNG market but no physical presence yet.



About rodney itaki

Medical doctor and public health specialist from Papua New Guinea.
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10 Responses to Telikom PNG Monopoly In Papua New Guinea Must Stop!

  1. CONCERNED says:

    I have worked in the industry, and with Telikom PNG Ltd for 2 decades after Unitech.
    But do not represent Telikom on this opinion, this is my personal and NATIONALISTIC VIEW.

    People jumped for joy when ICCC was told to allow Digicel and Green to operate.
    It would have made sense if locally set up companies or truly national companies were allowed to provide competition to Telikom which is a national company. But we went for a FOREIGN company. How long will we allow our turf to be trialed by FOREIGN companies?

    Now we have two FOREIGN companies aiming to provide equivalent services and perhaps at better prices and sevice quality too, more choice for the customer, that is what competition is all about. Big deal. But in the long run where does patriotism come in? Do we allow always FOREIGNers to bring their wares and ploy, set up on our turf and fold up if the going gets tough? For example Talair when they wound up 1993. Dennis Buchannan just packed up and 400 Papua New Guineans were dumped on the streets in three days. What control mechanisms do we have in place such that fly by nighters are kept accountable?

    The bottom line or fact is that FOREIGN companies are here to conduct business so long as it suits the FOREIGN investor? Price wars will always be there. Years back, we had SP Brewery and San Miguel, what happenned? San Miguel folded and 300 Papua New Guineans were on the streets in 6 months. We used to have Caltex, BP, Mobil, Shell, where are they today? What happenned to the nationals that worked under those operations? Did they get a fair compensation for their services and loyalty? We had Burns Philp, Carpenters WRC, Steamships Trading Co as huge import merchandisers and running speciality shops and supermarkets, where are they? What has happenned to the nationals under those operations and their plight? In case we forget the companies mentioned are FOREIGN OWNED. Price war and quality of service seem a big deal now.

    Give yourself time and patriotism will move its thick head back. Where Papua New Guineans will yell back and ask , where is our control on the Economy? In Fiji, the Indians run the economical affairs of that tiny nation. In Solomon Islands, just when the Chinese were beggining to get in, they got slaughtered en mass. We now have RH, City Pharmacy, Daltron, Datec, PNG Motors, Ela Motors, ANZ Bank, Boroko Motors, Do we know who owns them? What Papua New Guineans sit on their Boards?

    The want for price and service quality should not allow us to be so short sighted to be so invitive to FOREIGN interests to come and reap us, that is my point. If you need to go to Telikom’s competitor, so be it, if all the Papua New Guineans desire FOREIGN companies likewise lets all do it to every other industry that we have. Let us all sell to FOREIGNers if we have just lost faith in nationals and always laud FOREIGN expertise. And what about our business accumen knowlege and intelligence, entrepreunerial skills? What about it?.

    The Asian countries just do not allow FOREIGN companies to set shop as easily on their turf unless on significant merit. For us in PNG, we do not want to set up and build anything truly NATIONAL because we have FOREIGN tastes and will always undermine another NATIONAL.

    Thinking and educated Papua New Guineans, Come off it…

    You can rant all day on Air Niugini, Telikom, PNG Harbours Board, PNG Power, but who owns it? Who sits on the Board? Our own Papua New Guineans. Enough of the FOREIGN taste that we have, na traim na supportim all PNG nationally owned busineses. You will not regret it because it is YOURS.

  2. rodney itaki says:

    Concerned, thank you for your comments.

    And I also share your nationalistic and patriotic sentiments. But as a paying customer, I think the quality of service is a very important factor to consider. Sure, if Telikom PNG pulls up its socks and improve on its customer service, I am sure many more PNGeans, including myself with stick with Telikom PNG regardless of higher fees, as long as their customer service is up to what we expect.

    We are paying here. Shouldn’t we demand a better service than what we are getting currently from Telikom PNG?

  3. CONCERNED says:

    Thank you, Brother.
    To demand a reasonable standard of service requires a a general to specific definition and application of required standards to match perhaps the world’s benchmark of services. I agree, no point buying junk sold by providers with no concept of services and customer perceptions and more importantly the value to match the price of goods and services sold. The government has established various independent bodies separated from the industry or set up to monitor those aspects, but has their conduct been level best? These are the areas that treated the people with contempt. We have to daily live within their discretionary conduct of powers and duties to ensure that we get value for money.

    PNG’s current regulatory regime is bereft of that perspective perhaps due to over politicization of processes. We need to question the ICCCs, the IPAs, PANGTELs, NISITs or even our internal and foreign policies on the industry standards. Do we have anything homegrown and uniquely PNGean? Once those ideas and concepts are in place, then they could be linked to policies and the fundamental processes of governance. Legislation and codes of conducts can be better deployed and enforced.

    In retrospect, we need to question and audit legislational changes per industry and question our legislators or parliamentarians, have they meaningfully debated legislation that will set in the processes of government? Not only is telecommunication a concern, you need to seriously go to every other sector of industry.
    No outsider will enforce and make laws for Papua New Guineans, we must make, set them in place and uphold them. We seem to have difficulty in interpretation and dealing with offenders of our laws. Where are the processes on upholding our laws?

    Our legal draftsmen, enacters and enforcers on every industry and sector, where are you? When they come to the table, than shall we be able to identify rights and privileges and the conduct of services with appropriate standards and defined service levels.

    Telecommunication as a global industry and service sector that equally deserves rules that must move at the pace of technological changes on world markets and services.

    Finally, where are our rules and processes on telecommunications – The definition and application of requirements for service and the conduct of services whether for business or obligation? Where are the constitutional rights and privileges of our citizens and residents on ths service front? This is the preloaded billlion kina question that has to be posed to our authorities and legislators.

  4. Emmanuel says:

    Thank you Concerned and Rodney, some very good insights. I must admit I gave up on nationalism sometime ago in favour of better service. Got me thinking allot now…

  5. CONCERNED says:

    Thanks Manu, salute yu na RI, you both have allowed your blogs to be sounding boards to absorb national agenda as such. Credit to yu tupla. But we need to act accordingly and quickly, which is our biggest PNG difficulty.

    Em tasol.

  6. Eliza says:

    I agree that PNG needs to establish standards that can compete on an international level. However, without decent telecommunications this will be impossible.

    The most important aspect here is that telecommunications is an essential service. Without them, we can leave interaction with the outside world behind. This is what is happening where I live, in Western Province.

    The phone lines are deteriorating rapidly due to the extremely wet conditions, and there is no sign that the local Telikom branch can repair anything. We have been told over the last two years that the cable is not working, but they can’t replace it.

    Until it is repaired, there is no internet access and no phones. I cannot believe that in this day and age – even in such a remote place – there is nothing that can be done.

    I know at least thirty other customers here who are in the same situation as me – and even more who are waiting on a line being made available to them. Until someone cancels their service, new customers are out in the cold.

    This is a situation that would be amusing, except that telecommunications are a deadly serious essential service.

    The monopoly is not just inconvenient, it is crippling the economy and the nation’s development.

  7. rodney itaki says:

    Eliza, that is true isn’t it.

    Telecommunications, a vital and an intergral part of any country. One of the very essential service that makes a country tick! Yet, PNG is so far behind. Other countries within our region that were in a worse off situation compared to us just prior to independence have over taken PNG in many aspects of their developmental progress.

    Our own people are also not helping the situation when repeater stations are vandalised, undergroune copper wires are cut and sold or when land owner groups demand for compensation from Telikom PNG for the placement of a repeater station.

  8. John says:

    Hey wantoks! I am not Papua New Guinean but Australian. I’m proud to be a member of my local PNG Association (20 years+). I support your views as described above. Thanks to the monopoly for the past years it costs $Aust1.98/min or $Aust 2.98.min for mobiles to call PNG from Australia. Why? Yet it only costs $Aust0.21/min to call the United States!!!! Has corruption at the PNG end anything to do with this? I cry for PNG citizens especially students studying in Aust who often do not get their PNG Govt allowances paid on time but having to pay exhorbitant call rates. There is something rotten! Why did the PNG Banking Corporation fold? Is it because of the same ‘disease’ that appears to be inflicting PNG Telikom? Have a look at the Telikom website! At the moment it is a sick joke. Pages not available and/or broken links to others! Em tasol!

  9. rodney itaki says:

    It’s been a while since this post was put up. Evidence in PNG speaks for itself. Down with Monopoly, and long live compeition!

  10. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old
    room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for

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