Telikom, bmobile merged

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PRIME Minister James Marape has announced the merger of Telikom and bmobile into a single retail telecommunications company – Telikom Ltd – thus ending the Kumul Telikom Holdings Ltd (KTHL) era.
He also announced that wholesale telecommunications company, PNG DataCo Ltd, will look after Papua New Guinea’s international satellite and optic fibre connections.
Marape said this important milestone was under his Government’s State-owned enterprises (SOE) reform programme as PNG celebrates 46 years of Independence.
“On this auspicious occasion, I am more than happy to announce that my Government has taken a huge step in reforming and supporting the country’s telecommunications industry,” he added.
“This follows a National Executive Council (NEC) decision in June, approving the abolition of KTHL and reinforcing earlier NEC decisions to merge Telikom and bmobile into a separate company, Telikom Ltd.
“Telecommunications is one of the service sectors where SOEs are heavily involved. Unfortunately, over recent years, we have seen the value of our telecommunications assets eroded, and I commend the SOE Minister William Duma for arresting the decline.
“The Telikom merger was made possible by effectively liquidating a K200 million ANZ loan that has been outstanding since 2013.
“I commend the KCH (Kumul Consolidated Holdings) board for clearing this legacy debt,” he added.
Marape said Telikom Ltd and DataCo would be subsidiaries of KCH, and the changes had been approved by all the necessary stakeholder groups and regulatory bodies including the Internal Revenue Commission, Investment Promotion Authority, National Information and Communications Technology Authority and Independent Consumer and Competition Commission.
Last week, Dataco chief executive officer Paul Komboi said retail internet prices would be reduced by about 50 per cent by the end of next year.
He told an investment conference that wholesale prices had already reduced by about 40 per cent.
But it was not realised at the retail end because of market competition.
“Vodafone is coming in at the end of this year and one of the challenges we see is that a drop in the wholesale price is not being passed to the end-user.
“We know that Telstra is also coming on board, if everything goes well after their final assessment and due diligence.
“They will also create a different dynamic in the market place to continue to put presser on reducing the price of services offered to the people.”