MOBILE phone company bemobile has declared war on high mobile phone charges in the country.
In Mt Hagen on Saturday, the company announced a reduction in how much they charge their customers.
Starting on Saturday midnight, bemobile will be charging 49 toea on every calls per minute 24 hours a day.
This rate applies to bemobile to bemobile calls as well as bemobile to Digicel calls, whether it is peak or off-peak period.
This is a difference of 350% when compared to Digicel rates of K1.70 per minute from Digicel to bemobile or 100% discount on Digicel to Digicel calls, which charge 99 toea per minute for calls within the country.
The company said its balance transfer was free unlike Digicel, which is charging 20 toea, or to send SMS from bemobile to Digicel at a charge of 22 toea unlike Digicel, which is charging 35 toea.
bemobile chief executive officer Roger Blott said the new price was part of a declaration of war by the company on high mobile call rates in the country.
Mr Blott said being in the country for a year now, he understood the pain that high mobile rates were causing to ordinary people like farmers and market sellers, among others.
He said people in other countries did not pay high rates so there was no point punishing people in the country by charging them high rates.
“We are the first network to drop the unpopular premium to call another network, which means you no longer have to wait up all night to make a low price call, you get the same rate all day,” he said.
Mr Blott said they were now selling handsets for K29 – making it more affordable to get connected.
The announcement coincided with the staging of the bemobile music festival on Saturday in Mt Hagen at the old soccer field in Newtown.
The next festival will be held in Lae this weekend, followed by two shows in Central province.
The festivals and the reduction in rates are seen as part of an aggressive drive by the company to win over the market.
Digicel controls 85% of the mobile phone market, according to industry sources.
The sources say Digicel is able to control a big chunk of the market because of the way the mobile termination rates are structured.
bemobile and Telikom both consider the mobile phone termination rates unfair, and are planning legal action.