Vodafone in new ‘price cut’ offer for PNG mobile market

By Melisha Yafoi in Port Moresby

Vodafone has returned to the Papua New Guinea market as Digitec-Vodafone to operate as the third mobile operator.

Over the next two weeks, the PNG market will see the new look Vodafone operating in 25 different locations across the country, selling mobile phones and SIM cards to customers by April 21, 2022.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu made the announcement last night at the launch of the new Digitec office in Port Moresby.

With about 3 million current users in existing networks, Masiu said there was room for another operator to create competition and bring prices down, which has now happened with the Digitec-Vodafone entry.

He said Digitec’s investment showed confidence in PNG’s economy.

“On behalf of the Marape government, I welcome your entry into the PNG market,” Masiu said.

“The government’s policy objective is to promote sustainable competition in the information and communications technology sector and to ensure affordability, accessibility, connectivity and we believe that your entry into the market as that third mobile telecommunications operator will rejuvenate competition in the market”.

Headquarters in PNG
He said having the headquarters in PNG shows the government’s commitment to investing in the country’s telecommunications sector.

The move comes against the backdrop of a ‘super tax’ saga, where the market dominance levy in the sector caused a stir with the application of an additional K350,000,000 demanded by the state to following reports that Digicel refused to pay.

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News from mobile phone operators on the front page of the Post-Courier. Image: Post-Courier APR screenshot

It’s amid fears that the deal between Telstra Australia and dominant Digicel PNG will fall apart, impacting any new entrants into the lucrative mobile communications market.

Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil said Digitec had a history in the Pacific for over two decades and was known as an innovator in the ICT technology sector.

He said strong ICT was vital for a strong economy and essential for healthy communities.

“Having access to modern technology was no longer for the wealthy or the big cities like it was 20 years ago,” Basil said.

“Now, down to the village level, our people need access to technology.

“It’s about running small businesses, staying in touch with loved ones and accessing medical care.”

Tough trade arena
Basil said ICT was a difficult business to undertake, especially now that there were major changes in the sector with more investment and competition.

“As a businessman, and now as a political leader, I think competition is healthy,” he said.

“It makes business operations more efficient and saves money for our employees.

“I encourage the workers and management of Digitec to continue to provide exceptional service to our employees and the business community.”

Digitec CEO Nirmal Singh said the country will see great products in the coming weeks that his company will bring to market.

Melisha Yafoi is a journalist at the PNG Post-Courier. Republished with permission.

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