MOBILE phone company, bemobile, stands to become a larger and more profitable entity because of its involvement in the Solomon Islands, Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare told Parliament yesterday.
“I welcome the decision of the bemobile board and management to invest in the Solomon Islands.”
Mr Somare was responding to questions by Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta last week on the company’s Solomon Islands investment and said bemobile stood on the threshold of becoming the first private sector provider of mobile phone services in the Solomons.
The company is expected to roll out its phone services around June.
“In expanding into this market, bemobile is certainly not the first PNG corporation to seek to grow its business in the Solomons,” he said, adding that other PNG firms doing business there included Bank South Pacific, Credit Corporation, New Britain Palm Oil and the Lamana group of companies.
On the question of sufficient capital, Mr Somare said: “I am pleased to advise this House that this is a totally false premise. Much has been achieved in just over a year; bemobile has added 60 new sites to its network in the past year. In the past three months alone, bemobile subscriber numbers had risen three-fold.
“As I speak, equipment and towers for nearly 100 additional sites are in the process of being dispatched from warehouses in Lae and Port Moresby to newly acquired sites around the country. We are building a bigger and better bemobile network in PNG.
“Despite the problems created by the ongoing global financial crisis, the ability of bemobile to expand its operations has not been constrained by financial considerations.”