Category Archives: Telecommunications

Expiry Date for Registered SIM Cards

By : Post Courier

Like a driving licence or a motor vehicle, there is an expiry date set under legislation for their validity.

Can NICTA as regulator do the same with phone SIM cards under the current registration exercise, or eventually is that its intention.

Of course the underlying intention is undisputable considering security of persons and verification of users and all the other too important reasons.

The matter arises because the rush has begun in the countdown for the registration of SIM cards for mobile phone users in PNG.

And this has to be done within the last 10 days of this year because come midnight December 31, 2017 connection to all unregistered phones will be automatically cut off.

This applies right across the board whether or not you are an urban or rural dweller with a cell phone using the Digicel, Bmobile or other networks.

So far there has not been any indication from NICTA of any possible extension of time for the registration exercise.

In Digicel’s efforts to meet the deadline, they have now engaged students to carry out the registration of almost one million subscribers that have not yet been accounted.

They claim to have already registered up to 700,000 network users.

For the networks, there has to be up to date correlation with NICTA which issues the SIM cards and quick, efficient and accurate entry of registration details to avoid penalising customers that have already filled out the required documentation to confirm with the instruction.

This is because NICTA keeps sending prompts to subscribers that have already registered their mobile phones with Digicel.

This indicates a lack of correlation and discrepancy between the mobile networks and NICTA’s registration data base.

Customers that have already registered cannot be penalised through no fault of theirs.

The significant point that must be made clear now by NICTA is when the registrations of mobile phones expire.

There is no clear information about this critical factor because mobile phone users are entitled to know at the earliest what is in store for them on the long term.

The question arises considering that registration of SIM cards could be converted, intended or aligned as a major revenue raising protocol in the immediate future for the regulator.

A single registration definitely is not intended for a lifetime.


Sim Registration Nears Deadline

BY ROBINSON LEKA  ( Post Courier )

With almost under a week to go, the pressure to register sim cards before the December 31, continues to build as both mobile service providers and their customers find themselves in a long and rigorous registration process.

Digicel for the past three weeks has set mobile registration booths for their customers throughout Port Moresby to register their phone numbers.

The Waterfront Foodworld at Konedobu has been busy for the past three days with customers flooding in to register their sim cards.

Registration on Tuesday was put on hold as the network faced connection issues in uploading registered customer’s information, forcing Digicel officers on ground to call off registrations for the day.

One major challenge for Digicel this month is the upkeep of its network systems to facilitate a huge amount of subscribers registering their sim cards.

Digicel PNG is currently the largest mobile network operator in Papua New Guinea, with roughly 4 million subscribers, of which, only about 1.5 million have registered so far.

Dianne Auko, an officer with the Digicel sim registration team, described the situation as hectic as she and her team continue to register more customers.

“Even though the customers are harsh, we have to be patient and explain the process to them so that we can help them register their sims before the end of the month,” Auko said.

Govt Bodies To Use IGIS

BY MELISHA YAFOI ( Post Courier )

MINISTER for Communication and Information Technology Sam Basil says he is now looking at cutting all government office internet costs from K160 million down to K40 million.

Mr Basil said this after a brief visitation to the Integrated Government Information System (IGIS).

System (IGIS) project and the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) hosted by NICTA.

He said he has now tasked the Department of Communication and Information to prepare a National Executive Council submission for all departments including State owned entities to use the million kina (IGIS) project.

“We want all the government departments to use the data base and my visit yesterday, I have found that there are only few government departments using this system. The PNG government has spent considerable amount of money to set it up. It’s very important that any country around the world move their data into one so that we can protect it and we can make sure that we cut costs.”

“We will be cutting costs if we transfer all or allow the entire governemtn department to migrate into one place.

Very soon we will be looking at the examples of Malaysia and the examples of Singapore government how they protect their data base and we will adopt the same,” he said.

The Minister said they are now putting up a team in making sure that the installation of the cyber security system including the personnel’s and soft ware and hard ware systems are in place.

“PNG has great potential to expand its wings in the information and communication technologies (ICT) area in a big way.

“ICT services are vulnerable especially to cyber threats.

“And I personally want to ensure that our great investments in ICT like the IGIS and the internet exchange point, must be protected to serve the government and the private sector as well as ordinary Papua New Guineans and residents.

I am an advocate of responsible communications so cyber security and cybercrime policing are high on the list with details yet to be worked on,” he said.

Basil to Cut Costs

By : The National


NEW Communication, Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil wants to put in place “responsible, affordable and accessible” communication in radio, television and the internet during his tenure.

Thanking Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday for assigning him the ministry, Basil said he looked forward to serving the people as a member of Cabinet.

“I will issue official statements on the way forward in the ministry of communications, information technology and energy after being briefed by relevant government departments and agencies,” he said in a statement.

The Communication and Information Technology portfolio was formerly held by Francis Maneke, the Talasea MP from West New Britain, who has since been decommissioned.

The Energy portfolio was held by Fabian Pok, the Minister for Petroleum.

O’Neill said the changes would strengthen the Government’s focus on key growth sectors “that will have a direct impact on business development and community advancement”.

“I have great confidence in the minister’s (Basil’s) capacity to meet the challenges and opportunities that our country faces in these areas (communications and energy),” O’Neill said.

“There are clear synergies between the energy and communications sectors brought about by technological advances that are enabling Papua New Guinea to deliver positive change not only in urban areas, but also in rural and remote areas.”

Basil said he wanted to see a sustainable energy policy and regulatory framework to power up industries, urban and rural areas.

“Energy is often the first utility requirement before water and telecommunications so we must get our energy policy right,” Basil said. In communications, Basil plans to review the National Broadcasting Commission and provincial radio stations.

He wants the re-introduction of shortwave and medium wave frequencies to improve radio access in remote rural areas as was in the early 1980s.

Basil also hopes to review NBC funding, revenue generation and financial management to see that cash flow and its implications on wages are addressed urgently.

He is the parliamentary leader of the 15 Pangu Pati MPs who recently crossed from the Opposition following the formation of the Government after the general election.

Submarine Cable Project Ready for NEC

Source: Post Courier Online


Instruments for one of Papua New Guinea’s high impact projects, the US$100 million (K300 million) international gateway submarine cable from Sydney to Port Moresby is ready to go before Cabinet when it convenes this month.

Shortlisted vendors have already been selected but will officially be released once finalised.

The project is expected to be completed before the Government hosts the biggest meet in history in the 2018 APEC Summit.

On completion it is expected to decrease drastically the cost of internet in PNG as currently there is only a one lane highway the country is operating on.

The project will have about a super 100 lane highway, which will not only allow fast internet access, but cheap and reliable access to internet cost in PNG.

Treasurer Charles Abel in his recent presentation releasing the Government’s 100 days 25-Point Plan, said the project was part of the government’s primary goals of demonstrating pro-activity.

He said this was to ensure sound macroeconomic and fiscal management, restoring confidence, and generating investment and moving towards greater economic self reliance.

He said the World Bank and Australian Government financing of US$100 million was in place and the project would come under Treasury and DataCo.

This will push competition across the retail telecommunications sector by upgrading, building, owning and operating the National Transmission Network (TNN) and making it available to ICT operators at the wholesale level only.

This will eventually provide an effective wholesale infrastructure that is reliable and cost-effective for the people of PNG.

Telecommunication prices are set to reduce substantially once all these changes are in place.
“I want very much to progress the construction of the international gateway communications cable from Sydney to Port Moresby,” he said.

“This will get the cost of internet down in PNG once completed and the World Bank is helping with US$100 million and there are also other projects and programs that will help the government ease the prices of internet drastically.”

“We will look at all the costs and progress the construction of the international gateway communication cable from Sydney to Port Moresby.

“So with that connection with the old, worn out cable that’s coming in from Sydney and the other one that’s going to Guam off Madang, we are going to build this international access cable from Sydney.

PNG University Students urged to use Modern Technology for Learning

10th May 2017 – ONE PNG
University students have been challenged to make use of e-Learning opportunities for their benefit while also acting responsibly with said technologies.

An executive from PNG Tourism Promotion Authority Ms Alcinda Trawen issued the challenge to Divine Word University (DWU) students as guest of honour at the University’s Open Day in its Madang Campus last Sunday.

The TPA’s Director for Policy and Planning called on the students to gain from the learning opportunities provided by the advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) but also be conscious of their role to assist in addressing the digital divide that exists between the haves and have-nots in PNG.

Ms Trawen reminded the ICT-adept young generation to choose and learn from quality and helpful information from online sources and avoid material that were harmful, misleading and fake.

Ms Trawen said: “It is fast becoming common knowledge that e-Learning using a wide array of electronic media (computers, tablets, or phones) to educate or train learners is going to become the norm.
“And DWU in my opinion has always been the tertiary institution leader in this element,” said Ms Trawen last Sunday.

She said the benefits of e-Learning were many.

“In fact going through the stalls this morning, many of you (students) have told me or I have overhead you talk of these benefits – cost effective, saves time, can learn anywhere, easier tracking of your progress/scores/obtain data, global reach (world class information at your fingertips), access on multiple forms, self taught no programming/coding skills
Ms Trawen said while the benefits were immense, there were also many challenges such as in literacy, connectivity and access.

“The dilemma we find ourselves in is that we are advancing and operating in a modern context whilst still holding on to tradition society as well as conditions not so conducive to advancing,” she noted.
Ms Trawen reminded the students that the challenges call them as members of the privileged educated class like them to act and find solutions to bridge the digital.


Transcript of PM’s speech during opening of Kina Group Branch

Location: Vision City, Port Moresby
Date: 10th May 2017

PNG is a population that is in transition. We are in a first generation of people coming out of a very traditional society into a modern economy.

This brings about a lot of challenges to our people in trying to manage their finances and also keep up to the changing world, especially the digital age and with access to financial services provided.

Our people currently experiences dramatic change and transformation in society, therefore it is important that the private sector and governments continue to provide strong support to our communities including our people right across the country. Kina’s commitment to manage our peoples’ money and finances is an important step in the country’s direction.


This is a commitment that will help our people have better access to banking and finance services right throughout the country.

Kina Group is now making great gains in the financial sector and is PNG’s fourth largest bank that is listed both on the Port Moresby and Australian Stock Exchange.

Let me also on this occasion congratulate the bank for the trade agreement that was signed with the Asian Development Bank.

Again, it is going to boost Kina’s position in the financial sector and offcourse continue to support many of the businesses that are going to continue to provide support for small-medium businesses.

Now is the right time to expand services in this sector as we know that over the past few years we have experienced some challenging times in our economy, particularly the drop of commodity prices that has hurt many resource exporting countries around the world.

But PNG is weathering this storm quite well. We have been able to insulate our economy from many of these shocks, adjusting to adapt to these extreme economic issues. We have reduced non-priority expenditure on government, we have been able to readjust our budgets to meet the fall in revenues, and we have tried our best to expand the economic base in our country.

We cannot allow our country to continue to pull through the boom and bust economic cycles that are brought about by commodity and global conditions.

Our government has invested in sectors like agriculture, tourism, fisheries, poultry, manufacturing, small to medium enterprises however we need to do more together so that we can give our people more opportunities.

It is also encouraging to see the resource sector continuing to enable us to meet some of these challenges by now agreeing to value added opportunities in the industry allowing us to go downstream processing in the oil and gas industry and the mining industry. We appreciate the commitment that the resource producers are now making to our country. We are working very strongly to have value added in these sectors so we can provide employment opportunities, income-earning opportunities for our people. We have no doubt many challenges ahead of us in this sector but we are committed to delivering some of the world-class projects that are before us.

We have done so in the first LNG project, we have delivered it on time and on budget and at a very low cost structure, which is certainly the envy of the leaders. We are committed also to now enabling the second LNG project to commence very soon. That will be able to inject billions of dollars into the industry and into the economy that will create thousands of jobs for our people. The key is to attract such investments into our country needs political stability in politics to deliver on government policies and programs.

In Papua New Guinea, we are now getting recognized for being the most stable in our political history.

We are a country that is meeting its obligations, particularly our contractual obligations internationally where our policy agenda is very clear and transparent.

That is the type of stability that we need to give confidence to the business and the investment community so that they can continue to conduct their business in a conducive environment.

We know that there were challenges in recent times where we experienced a shortage in foreign currency for too long which forced some of the developers and of course in particular, the resource industry to keep excessive amounts of foreign currencies overseas.

This is detrimental to our economy. We need agreements that are going to be fair to our economy and fair to our country and we need to have some balance in the process.

We are now engaging in discussions with these investors to enable the retention of much of the foreign currency in Papua New Guinea so that we can be able to meet our immediate obligations going forward.

We must always have a fair and transparent playing field. And we understand the investors’ obligations in terms of dividend payments and of course loan repayments to their lenders, that is something that we can work through so we maintain a balanced economy so we do not continue to suffer.

Our economic fundamentals are very stable. We remain strong. Our inflation is well under control. Our economy continues to grow despite global challenges. Our Debt to GDP remains well below 35 percent of GDP given that not only fifteen years ago, our Debt to GDP ratios was well over 70 percent meaning; we have come a long way.
I think it is important that we continue to maintain partnerships in the economy and offcourse our business community so that they can continue to work with us.

In terms of government’s own investments, I think that many of our business leaders and business community continue to know that we are a long term visionary government that is investing in the infrastructure that has been run down for many, many years, and over the past five years we have invested in new airports, new seaports, new jetties and offcourse rebuilding many of the roads all around our cities and major highways throughout the country.

In the next term of government, we intend to complete many of these works that we have commenced, particularly around the national highways throughout the country that is going to enable more business opportunities for our citizens and offcourse deliver basic services to our remote communities in the country.

Our investment in education, especially our free education policy has enabled millions of young Papua New Guineans to be educated. This ensures that they attain a skill that is going to give them opportunities in their lives. That is also going to produce a lot of skilled Papua New Guineans who will meaningfully contribute productively to the economy and to many of the businesses that are now investing in our country.

I know also that our health care policies are also going to deliver a very healthy population to a very fast growing middle class that is certainly going to continue to contribute to the growth of our economy.

Finally, the changes that are taking place in Papua New Guinea, is certainly not just by our global partners, global communities, members of the APEC community. When I asked the APEC leaders to support our desire to host the APEC meeting in 2018, it was agreed by all member countries because of the confidence they have in the new Papua New Guinea. Next year, thousands of delegates will come to Papua New Guinea in November, of course with them, there will be leading business men and women from these member countries who will certainly be looking to Papua New Guinea with a renewed interest.

Yesterday I announced the locations of many of these site meetings that are going to take place all around the country, again exposing our country to many of the visitors who are certainly going to be in Papua New Guinea for the first time.

Kina Group will continue to become one of our strong partners during the APEC meetings, particularly around the CEO Summit that is going to take place here in Port Moresby.

Hosting APEC is another indication that change is taking place in Papua New Guinea. Confidence is there for Papua New Guinea and we are all part of that change.

The opening of this branch here at Vision City is again an ongoing expansion program for the Kina Group, which is a true part of the change that is happening in our country.

I was just saying to the former Prime Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, that it was not long ago our villages throughout the country in the 1970s, when we used to open passbook accounts to open bank accounts in many of the branches throughout the country.

This is now a thing of the past, as we go through the digital world of banking where I am encouraged by the support the Kina Group is expanding through these services in the country.

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