Virus impact over each market - telecom operators, government agencies and regulators' responses - revised forecasts for the next 5 years.
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.
Kumul Telikom; (Telikom PNG, PNG DataCo, Bmobile (Vodafone) and Digicel.
As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.
Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.
The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.
Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation
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