Prime Minister Hon. James Marape today announced the amalgamation of Telikom PNG and BMobile into a single retail telecommunications company, Telikom Ltd, while abolishing Kumul Telikom Holdings Ltd (KTHL)
He also announced a wholesale telecommunications company, PNG DataCo Ltd, which will look after Papua New Guinea’s international satellite and optic fibre connections.
This important milestone is under the Government’s State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) reform programme as Papua New Guinea 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.
“This follows a National Executive Council (NEC) decision in June, 2021, 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, Hon. 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 Board for clearing this legacy debt,” Mr Marape added.
Mr Marape said Telikom Ltd and DataCo would be subsidiaries of Kumul Consolidated Holdings (KCH), adding , the changes announced had been approved by all the necessary stakeholder groups and regulatory bodies including Internal Revenue Commission (IRC), Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) and Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC).
“Today’s announcement will add improved telecommunications to the list of improved services and strategies that my Government has embarked on, diversifying and accelerating growth in the non-mining and non-petroleum sectors to create more jobs.
“Therefore, I am pleased to say that our Independence Day gifts are two focused telecommunications SOEs – Telikom Ltd and PNG DataCo Ltd – who can contribute to a more efficient telecommunications sector in the country.
“In telecommunications terms, today marks the start of another step along our SOE reform journey and heralds the beginning of a new chapter of improved services to the people of PNG.”
Mr Marape said given the rugged terrain, it was essential that the country must have an efficient telecommunications network to connect the country, and to the rest of the world.
“We realise that these changes alone will not necessarily result in a major improvement to the telecommunications landscape.
“Through our SOE reform programme, we are extending, through KCH, additional funding to facilitate the merger activities and further support improvements to telecommunications infrastructure around the country,” he said.
“I wish everyone throughout the length and breadth of our beloved country a Happy 46th Anniversary of Independence.”