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Papua New Guinea - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 28 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 86

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Papua New Guinea’s telecoms connectivity improving

With fixed teledensity having seen little change over the past two decades, progress in PNGs telecommunications has come primarily from mobile networks, where accessibility has expanded from less than 3% population coverage in 2006 to more than 89% today with a combination of 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks on offer depending on location. 2G still exists in many rural and remote areas, with 3G and 4G LTE centred more on urban areas. The impending launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in December 2019 will do much to improve mobile services in PNG.

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-existent outside urban centres, leaving most of the population un-serviced.

The existing submarine cable infrastructure is also no longer adequate and Internet services are expensive and slow. Internet access is expected to improve however, with the build-out of a new submarine cable known as the Coral Sea Cable System which will link PNG to the Solomon Islands, with a connecting cable to the Australian (Sydney) landing station. It will provide increased capacity and reliability as well reduce Internet costs for consumers. In mid-2019 work had begun on deploying the system, beginning in the Solomon Islands and moving across to Sydney.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Key developments:

  • The Kacific-1 satellite is scheduled for launch in mid-December 2019.
  • International attention was focused on Papua New Guinea recently when it hosted the 2018 APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit.
  • 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.
  • A significant pricing development occurred in Papua New Guinea in September 2018 when the Communication Minister rejected a Retail Service Determination (RSD) recommendation, due to concerns over its social and economic impact.
  • The Coral Sea Cable System is under development.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Kumul Telikom; (Telikom PNG, PNG DataCo, Bmobile (Vodafone) and Digicel.

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