Phone usage predicted to rise


IT is projected that mobile phone usage may jump from 2.5 million to six million in five years, says Information and Communication Technology Minister Timothy Masiu.
Masiu said, during the opening of the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) summit in Port Moresby yesterday, that this was due to the changes taking place in the telecommunication sector, including:

  • THE merger of bmobile and Telikom PNG into a single entity;
  • A third mobile operator, Vodafone, going into full operation by early next year; and,
  • THE acquisition of Digicel by Telstra which the Government is monitoring as it is subject to regulatory compliance.

Masiu said the ICT sector was previously focused on telecommunication but was now looking at different areas as well. “We are now talking about a much broader scope that covers media convergence, cloud technology, fintech (financial technology) and artificial intelligence,” he said.
“To recognise the broad scope of ICT and its benefits for the Government, it endorsed the Digital Transformation Policy.
“We will soon see the rapid growth of digital services delivered by the public sector.
“And while the summit outcomes will provide input into the National ICT Policy 2008, we already expect that National Information Communication Technology Authority’s (Nicta) regulatory roles will expand further to cover digital media, cloud technology, and artificial intelligence.”
Masiu plans to emphasis more on rural telecommunication by having a dedicated infrastructure entity role of the universal access services (UAS). “We are also expecting that business houses and ICT SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) must play a partnership role with the Government,” he said.
He also announced that the Government had approved an overhaul of the National Broadcasting Corporation’s broadcasting infrastructure from analog to digital soon.
The department is working with the NBC to finalise a nationwide analog to digital broadcasting plan.