Papua New Guinea - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Mobile broadband subscribers grew substantially in Papua New Guinea Over the past few years, Papua New Guinea has experienced positive GDP growth and the government is currently introducing its national strategy, Vision 2050 which is hoped will further address long-term infrastructure requirements; improve general living conditions and maintain economic stability. Papua New Guinea is also being guided by its medium-term plan, The Papua New Guinea Development Strategic Plan. Network deployment costs are high in PNG due to the relatively low subscriber base, the impervious terrain, and the high proportion of the population living in rural areas. As a result, fixed telecom infrastructure is almost non-inexistent outside urban centres, leaving most of the population un-serviced. With fixed tele-density having seen little change over the past two decades, progress in telecommunications has come primarily from mobile networks, with organizations such as The World Bank assisting PNG with funding to build mobile infrastructure in remote and rural areas. The recent deployment of additional mobile infrastructure and launch of 4G LTE was reflected in the recent growth of the mobile broadband sector which took a big leap forward in the past couple of years in terms of subscriber growth. Three mobile service operators provide services including Digicel, Bmobile (Vodafone), and Citifon (Telikom PNG). However, this competitive landscape is expected to change with a proposed merger between Bmobile and Citifon (Telikom PNG) given Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) approval in late 2017. Considering Digicel has by far the largest mobile subscriber base in PNG; it is hoped the merger will increase mobile competition and drive service and infrastructure developments further.
Bmobile and Citifon (Telikom PNG) plan to merge together to form Kumul Telecom. This was given ICCC approval towards the end of 2017. In terms of Internet access, PNG has traditionally lagged other nations in terms of access and penetration. A need to bridge the digital divide continues to exist. The World Bank has been working with PNG to improve Internet connectivity in rural and remote areas since 2009.