A Six Year Old Mobile Phone Start Up in PNG

One of the areas of PNG which I love to write about is technology and innovation in PNG. Primarily because there’s not nearly enough of it going on and PNG would do well to do more in this space. Our lack of infrastructure investment and policy focus in this space has left us lagging against the world for decades and in the age of the internet we are still grappling with high costs and low levels of customer service.

Digicel has been a great catalyst in this area and my company Masalai Communications directly felt that because we were given the opportunity to design their first website when they started here. Digicel later on gave us the contract to run the Digicel Urban Bounce dance competition which ran for 2 years in Port Moresby, so I was able to see up close what innovation could look like.

But for a vibrant market to develop, everyone knows you need healthy competition and in a primarily 2 player mobile phone market, bemobile has struggled to keep up with Digicel.

So what can bemobile do now after 6 years of failed effort to drive competition? Where do they go to now after attempts at attracting Vodafone Fiji’s management team fell flat?

To answer these questions and more I thought I’d speak to another person with an upclose experience with Digicel, Sundar Ramamurthy, who after selling his ISP Data Nets to Digicel is now the Group CEO for bemobile.

sundar_ramamurthy_bemobile_png

Sundar, tell us a little about yourself. When did you come to PNG and how did you go about setting up your first major business the ISP, Data Nets?

“I came to PNG in 1976, went to Primary and High School in Port Moresby. I then went to University in Sydney to study electrical engineering, then did my M.Sc in the U.S.A. in Electrical Engineering. I helped Telikom PNG build the Lotto network in 1992 and then decided to start Data Nets in 1993.” 

What makes you passionate about ICT in PNG?

“Over the last 20 years the calibre of kids coming out of Unitech has been good. However they have little to no practical knowledge. When they are given the right opportunities they shine. Allowing innovation in a company is key to keeping intelligent people engaged. People like to know they make a difference.”

You’re also involved with the IPBC led National Transmission Network (NTN), with that in mind what can Papua New Guineans expect overall from ICT in PNG over the next 5 years?

“The NTN allows for the construction of high speed fibre across the country. That in itself is not enough. Retail providers need to have competition and low cost access to the fibre. Both of these allow for a vibrant local communications market. For this to occur specific SOE’s and IPBC need to work in co-operation. This is starting to happen.”

From running one of the biggest ISP’s in PNG to now being the Group CEO of bemobile is there much difference, in this day and age, between an ISP company and a mobile phone company?

“Big differences.  ISP’s can sit on top of mobile infrastructure. The converse is not true. The mobile business is 24 X 7 X 365 by its very nature. People are more dependent on a mobile network in PNG for voice and data. We need to deliver a reliable and robust network first and foremost.

I recently mentioned on Sharp Talk that you were in this new position and that in this rebuilding phase of bemobile you have described bemobile as a 6 year old start up. From the 100 odd comments that came through 3 key issues became quite prominent. 1) What is bemobile doing about its network expansion and quality? 2) What is bemobile doing about its Customer Service? 3) Can bemobile rebrand itself so that people can forgive it for its past failings? (See all Sharp Talk comments below)

“These are all valid comments. They represent significant challenges to bemobile today. Each of these comments requires a methodical and systematic approach, patience and determination on the part of employees, shareholders and customers.”

Thank you very much for your time Sundar and good luck!

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11 thoughts on “A Six Year Old Mobile Phone Start Up in PNG

  1. These were the comments by people on Sharp Talk:

    Over the last 6 years bemobile has disappointed many of us, so I popped in to see the new Group CEO, Sundar Ramamurthy yesterday to see how things were going. (Some of you may remember Sundar as the former owner of Data Nets before he sold his business to Digicel).

    After Vodafone Fiji pulled out bemobile is now left with around US$100m no longer available for expansion but they have another US$100m from the Govt which they can use on areas in their control such customer care and their network. Network expansion has already begun and in this rebuilding phase Sundar describes bemobile as a 6 year old start up.

    So what are your expectations of bemobile? Do you have any suggestions, questions or comments for Sundar?

    Place them here or email them to ask@masalai.com.pg and I will get him to respond.
    ————————————
    Amos Roman Can they come up with ways to monitor the customer care representatives??? If u call u will be on hold for eternity, wonder what they are doing or if they are short staff
    October 22 at 9:28pm via mobile · Like · 3
    Panu Kasar They simply need a good program of resellers so that subscribers have access to top up & top cards. You hardly find top cards at night or on the streets. Use people as agents. Compared with digicel they are no way near. How can we use the network if we dont have access to top cards? Up to the new CEO.
    October 22 at 9:32pm via mobile · Like · 7
    David Kitchnoge I think bemobile finally got their man. I’m excited about where the company might go if Sundar is given the right resources and support to implement his plans.
    October 22 at 9:34pm · Like · 10
    Clelland Tukana Data Charges For Digicel are too High decrease in price will see an increase in customers
    October 22 at 9:37pm via mobile · Like · 9
    Matthaias D. Korugl Looking forward to what Sundar will bring to BMobile. Increase network coverage. More stable data connectivity. And don’t stop the free texts either. Good luck Sundar
    October 22 at 9:45pm via mobile · Like · 9
    Seb Misiel Connectivity within the main centers is okay. However we’d like to see an Increase in Network Coverage and a Reduction in Data Rates.
    October 22 at 9:49pm · Like · 5
    Kwalu Lagani Reduce internet rates and everyone will rush for Bemobile..Increase the sale of topkads like what Digicel is doing. Sell everywhere bustops, settlements, villages and surbubs..
    October 22 at 9:56pm · Like · 4
    Vicky K Pasen Get on fiber optic for fast and efficient access to internet.
    October 22 at 9:59pm via mobile · Like · 2
    Annaki Jay reduce data rates
    October 22 at 10:14pm via mobile · Like · 2
    Percy William Taunao Rarua customer service needs more training – they are rude at times. they keep you wait on the line for what it seems eternity.
    October 22 at 10:29pm via mobile · Like · 3
    Bare Styx Kua increase market share by increasing coverage.. cover the entire nation then start selling your top cards.. right now digicel owns around 95%, bmobile 4%, and telikom’s citifone around 1% or less. bemobile can sell top card everywhere but who’s going to buy them?
    October 22 at 10:33pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 5
    Charles Raka They would get a large portion of the market share if they are consistent with their quality of service, i.e., their telecommunications service as well as public relations. And yes, Sundar is the man…
    October 22 at 10:34pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 3
    Nou Souqz Peter I know Sundar and for sure Bemobile will excel..
    Foremost improvement is more network rollout structure..Get it to the remote parts.
    And for internet usage, like for mobile phones,allow unlimited access to internet for fixed rates,for instance K2/day…and for dongle make it K3/day unlimited inet access…
    So yep,no doubt we will see changes, Sundar is too good!!:)
    October 22 at 10:45pm · Like · 5
    Wesley Ihene Emmanuel Narokobi, I noted that, most of the top management and senior sales rep of Bmobile are former Digicel employees or business associates. I am concerned that trade secrets can be compromise here. Just thinking.
    October 22 at 10:47pm via mobile · Like · 2
    Sausia Wagun There are some very important points that will not make bemobile profitable. First they should change the name completely. People still remember those past sky high prices and all over PNG, i have been told again and again that bemoble‘s rates dropped because digicel came in which of course is tru but most PNG locals felt cheated by their own PNG owned company so no body wants Bemobile today. That is fact number one. Perhaps changing the name might do the trick.
    Secondly the marketing strategies used by Bemobile and Telekom. Both entities lack creativity, vigour, youth and passion. Gatgets are part and partial of youth lifestyle and perhaps the reason Digicel is way ahead in this area is because they have very dynamic, youth oriented marketing strategies. Bemobile is so poor in its marketing strategy. The management need to really make it a company that is part and partial of the growing youth culture in PNG. In Lae, i have seen little or no impact marketing. In fact their presence in not felt at all. I often wonder how they are making money….
    October 22 at 11:09pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 12
    David Kitchnoge Wesley Ihene, we need not worry about trade secrets. Em samting blo Digicel. I think at least two previous CEOs of bemobile were ex digi but they still couldn’t turn the business around even with their inside knowledge of digi’s workings. I think what’s different this time is that Sundar is a “local boy” and understands the local ICT market and customer behaviour very well. That is a big plus. And I think he doesn’t have to deal with some arrogant Hong Kong based shareholders anymore as his predecessors did. I think these Hong Kong idiots are now gonesky.
    October 22 at 11:00pm · Like · 8
    Lily Tiger Emmanuel…. introduce upmarket phone products and accessories, it definitely has to be “value for money”. Increase number of base station to improve signal and coverage. Remain the free text services and buckle up the customer services – don’t put on hold on your customer for more than 2 minutes maximum. Provide in house training including etiquette for customer services sales / marketing staffs including the managers.
    October 22 at 11:01pm via mobile · Like · 6
    Axel Ikupu Having Known Mr Ramamurthy, he will make it happen for Bemobile, as he has done it for DataNets
    October 22 at 11:06pm · Like · 3
    John Pora A good captain can sail a ship through any seas. I wish him well, just bumped into him the other night and had no idea.
    October 22 at 11:07pm via mobile · Like · 4
    Paugs Bata To grab the market share is to increase coverage…. Invest whatever capital you have in building up your coverage first.
    October 22 at 11:08pm via mobile · Like · 10
    Wasantha Kumarasiri All Sharpies, Thank you for your comments and all comments noted and all are valuable and will be considered and implemented. Please give your support to Sundar, BMobile and your country asset now which you can become a shareholder in the future.
    October 22 at 11:17pm · Unlike · 28
    John Taure I had the opportunity to work for Digicel, Telikom which had bemobile under its care. When bemobile pull away from Telikom, I also ended up there. From the time I moved over from Digicel to Telikom, I saw that there was a huge difference in the operational setup of the former department compared to the new. Digicel came with a plan and is growing. Bemobile under Telikom was still struggling to make a name let alone provide a competitive market that would attract. People within just didn’t have the experience to match the red army. When Bemobile pulled away from Telikom, it still lacked the push, direction, leadership and enegry to make an impact. I believe financially Bemobile would have woken up but bad or poor decisions along the way made its growth slow.

    As the way forward:

    1. Bemobile needs to listen to what the customers are saying and tailor their service to suit the demand. If Digicel customers are complaining that Digi’s data rates, then grab that opportunity by providing a better, cheaper alternative with an expanding network across the country.

    2. Bemobile today needs to also introduce new products e.g a good range of handsets that suits all ages where the price is right. This area has been a notable one that lacks consistency. As a mobile company it needs to lure customers with a range of handsets ( mobile phones) that is out on the market. Digicel has a good range which customers can select from and that promotes the company.

    3. The drive to push top kads sales requires incentives that would entice the public.

    4. All staffs should be trained to be customer service oriented and also have a sound product knowledge

    5. Review their Customer Care Billing/Complaint software and ensure that it is user friendly for both staff and customers alike.

    Bemobile has the potential to deliver. I also believe that the decision to setup in the Solomon Islands was not in the best interest when a lot was needed to be done on the network infrastuctures through PNG. This is where Digicel capitalized on and today enjoys a good revenue turn-around generated from its customer base PNG wide. I trust the new CEO and team will really turn Bemobile around.
    October 22 at 11:30pm via mobile · Like · 18
    Natascious Natasha we cant get good reception on the sides of hills or in valleys compared 2 digicel. Improve this pls
    October 23 at 12:07am via mobile · Like · 3
    Ali Ganim Keep on subsidizing bemobile becos if digicel gets a stranglehold, it will definitely rip us off. Do some background checks (especially in the Caribbean and South America) and you will know why.
    October 23 at 12:18am · Like
    Ali Ganim What is so hard about just selling internet ready sim cards? Dial 1111 and activate your programed internet service. What is hard about that? And what is so hard about cutting internet costs? Bemobile wake up or be trodden by digicel. Streamline the management or maybe hire a management company to run it and sack the incompetent managers. What is so hard about that?
    October 23 at 12:43am · Like · 1
    Jessie James Digicel brought communication to the villages in no time while bemobile couldn’t do it n still can’t get it right. Bemobile wants taxpayers to bail them out ie govt handouts another failed enterprise good luck to the new ceo. Digicel still the best.
    October 23 at 12:46am via mobile · Like · 1
    Albert Kambar YES Sundar is suited for this job. I challenge him and his team to MAKE BEMOBILE, AN HOUSEHOLD NAME, MAKE EVERYONE THINK BEMOBILE, WHEN THEY THINK OF PHONE CALLS CREDITS OR INTERNET. MAKE BEMOBILE TAKE BACK WHAT THEY LOST. and yes as Wasantha Kumarasiri stated, and I would want to see that, ordinary Papua New Guineans buy into the company, and take ownership of it, only than we can FEEL that we are contributing to its growth and in tend we also grow in it. All the best Sundar
    October 23 at 12:47am · Like · 4
    Ali Ganim Digicel is just biding its time and waiting for Bmobile to die. When that happens. Digicel will really increase the prices because when they have monopoly they will definitely make everyone beg for mercy. They have done it to other third world countries and they will do it here too.
    October 23 at 12:53am · Like · 1
    Gordon Warvi Network Coverage should be priority. They already provide some good standard services, they just need to expand their network reach so that people in remote areas have more than one choice for mobile communication. Digicel still has some gray areas, it would be good to start there, particular those with a reasonably high populace that demands the service; it’s a great way to secure cash flow.

    Invest in better data bandwidth for customers so that Internet options are not just limited to ISP’s, Digicel, Private VSAT service providers or Telikom (or dare I speak, Citifon of all things).

    Do they still have the office in Solomon Islands? How about investing in that and pulling in revenue to build up the capital for growth in PNG. I mean, has Digicel entered the SI market yet? Get SI to fund the whole growth and maybe invite investment from their Government, private investment firms or even Telekom if they’re interested.

    After they’ve managed to resolve all of this and have a regular and steady flow of customers and cash, I would like to suggest a brand change. I guess I’m just dreaming, but it’s always good to think positive in uncertain times, especially with Bemobile. No one knows what the future holds for Bemobile, and I think that future should be in a new name, image and services to encourage positive change and growth. This will probably be in the short-to-medium term, though; not right away.

    I believe Bemobile should also sign exclusive mobile phone dealerships with the likes of LG, Motorola and Sony, if possible. They’re big players, but they’re not getting a lot of push in the PNG market, which I’m sure they would be interested in doing. Also, it might be highly beneficial if they can also get an exclusive arrangement with Nokia/Microsoft. It might be good to get this before Nokia is taken over (just a suggestion).

    The last suggestion I would like to make is that they recruit more forward thinking and experienced staff and invest in their human resources. Clearly, if they (Bemobile) are going to be any good they need to retain these professional assets; they need to have the resources to handle the pressure and be proactive in coming up with solutions that will not only improve the company, but also benefit customers…and for heavens sake motivate your staff by encouraging them to participate in the growth, provide them with the necessary resources, and customer service training so that they bring only their best to the customer.
    October 23 at 1:55am · Edited · Like · 4
    Ian Inu Minding hand out free cheap phones to the public by way of promotion for a month or less.. notice that over a period of a month or two the actual sellng price will have been met. whatevr cums aftr that is just profit. that goes along with more promotions n awareness about bemobiles service products. the more customers it has, the more services it will provide thus more profit. they need to frequently market their products n new mobile service developments..its pshycology awell.the more people are remindd of sumthg the highr the tendncy n the temptation to try out whatevrs been constantly put to them.
    October 23 at 2:05am via mobile · Edited · Like
    Gordon Warvi Good suggestion Ian, but free SIMs would be more better considering most of everyone already has a phone. Join them and get new phone or join their post paid plan and get two SIMs (1 x post-paid and 1 x pre-paid) and mobile phones… aye?
    October 23 at 2:04am · Like · 4
    Ian Inu Minding more like it Gordon..hehehe
    October 23 at 2:09am via mobile · Like
    Clement Yang Can Bmobile and her mother company telikom reduce thir charge out rate on their gate way..It is just too expensive calling to PNG then to UK or US and also file up the black spot left out by Digicel and improve from copper to fibre network for internet..
    October 23 at 2:37am · Like · 1
    Nolan Kom Hope with improvement we can have 3G or better. Yeah y turn up at a bmobile outlet to activate mobile date? Should it be automatic the moment you insert their sim into a phone with data capability?
    October 23 at 3:39am via mobile · Like
    Paugs Bata The stupidest thing Bemobile ever did was taking advantage of the monopoly it had during its esterblishment in the early 2000 and charging very high fees. Who ever the marketing directors and CEO at that time were some of the dumbest idiots. In every business customers are the very most important people as they are the once with money. Those managers and CEO’s at that time only thought about charging high fees and making fast money and never thought of the market share of the customers. The second mistake was the establishment in Solomon Islands. What was the management thinking when you are struggling yourself to survive in your own country. They should have just used that money to expand their coverage in PNG first. How did you expect to win back the market share of the customers when you don’t have the coverage? ??? I hope the new CEO will do it right this time.
    October 23 at 5:19am via mobile · Edited · Like · 5
    Naikniiz Amesii B-mobile and Digicel looks like one company with different names,,, did Digicel bought B-mobile and operating in disguise?
    October 23 at 5:14am · Like · 3
    Mark B Flynn Paugs Bata, the CEO’s name at the time was Martin Vaisame. He advised that he was concerned at the damage the mobile and internet (voip) would do to the landline revenue. He didn’t appear to see the advantages of the new technology, so he did everything to block it. The problems with the internet and the high charges stem from the Telikom decisions back at that time.
    October 23 at 5:16am · Like · 4
    Robert Weber I don’t care … Just give me cheap, fast, reliable INTERNET !!!!!
    October 23 at 5:25am via mobile · Like · 3
    Mendricks Angat bemobile doesn’t need to copy her counterpart for competition.. but take pride and be loyal to its customers cause its still & always the best.
    October 23 at 6:40am via mobile · Like · 5
    James Yoka Ekip All the above comments and suggestions are correct and true. However, the most important issues has been is the selling. B mobile for I see has a very good marketing strategy but a very poor selling strategy. I for one was convinced by the good marketing strategy and switched to b mobile but I had to change back to Digicel because I have had difficulty with buying top up credit cards. The credits are not readily available when I need it. I had to go around looking for it. Business commence sense, provide the product at the customer’s convenience, when the customer wants it, it’s right there.

    The second most important thing is its call rates between the land lines and the b mobile. Make that very cheap, cheaper the calls from Digicel to fixed land lines. This will encourage public servants and departmental heads to be forced to use b mobile. Thirdly, make b mobile to b mobile calls very very cheap. Times are getting tough and people are now resorting to cutting down costs. B mobile will be very very popular if calls are cheaper. Mind you, word of mouth campaign by a satisfied customer is very effective and powerful.

    B mobile executives if you take my advice, you will beat Digicel in three years time. Your secret weapon is you land lines. Plan around it. The public service machinery and business using land lines is your weapon. Strategize b mobile and fixed land line call rates. Importantly, ensure your product is there were your customers need it. Don’t make them look for your product. Once, all that is done, invest in more coverage and data volume.

    I believe, I have just given b mobile the right advice which if taken on board will beat Digicel. On this note, B mobile, for my advice and all the advice and statements mentioned above, acknowledge Emmanuel Narakobi.
    October 23 at 6:50am via mobile · Like · 1
    Ricardo Timapen Build more comm towers and or used ese existing nbc towers if possible. Sell shares and public will buy into it.

    All the best
    October 23 at 7:11am via mobile · Like · 2
    Ernie Gangloff Congratulations Sundar on your appointment as Group CEO. B-Mobile is a PNG owned company, address the network issues and we will return.
    October 23 at 7:17am via mobile · Like · 8
    Wycliffe Norotouw Please advice them to concentrate on selling their mobile phones..thats how Digicel got every customer over to them.. I am sure their rates now are way cheaper than Digicel, it’s just that not many people own a Bemobile Simcard or phone…
    October 23 at 7:28am · Like · 4
    Albert Tagua Wasantha Kumarasiri was this job advertised, if so did any qualified PNGeans applied for this job…explain this to the people of PNG.
    October 23 at 7:34am via mobile · Like · 6
    John Vada Website with top-up services.
    October 23 at 7:41am via mobile · Like · 1
    Ramona Lisa This may sound unimportant but for years I struggled with the slogan “always there..”, question: where??? Why couldn’t it have been “always here!” from a marketing perspective and perhaps as female, “always there” sounded like it was somewhere else for someone else for something else…other than me the CUSTOMER!!!. Perhaps it was intended for a very “special” customer, excluding people like me. All the best with future marketing concepts!!
    October 23 at 7:46am via mobile · Like · 5
    Nosuau Kini 1. Cash in on Fibre! Striking deals with existing infrastructure of SOE’s. Internet speed increases = attracting the younger generation.
    2. They maybe the bigger, better network… make bemobile the BIGGEST & BEST NETWORK & I will come back!
    October 23 at 7:51am via mobile · Like · 3
    Marcellin Ropa And bring back TURBO Charge, please. eByte is ok but its only limited to 4 days use, and its only data credit. Bring back Turbo.
    October 23 at 8:03am via mobile · Like · 2
    Penny Elizabeth Gee Agree with Marcellin Ropa, bring back turbo.
    N fix the network coverage!!!!
    October 23 at 8:07am via mobile · Like · 1
    Sylvester Sprautz Yakai The rates are cheap already for Bmobile calls compared to Digi.

    They just need to extend coverage and improve their reach-ability to all PNGeans in terms of phones sales, simcards sales and top cards availability.

    Also we need engineers and technical people who are not only experienced but creative and innovative. They can research and bring on new technology, blend them together to achieve new ways of delivering mobile network Services to our populace.

    Finally TREND AWARENESS is very important and how does BMOBILE plan to be pro-active than reactive in this area; is very important so as to remain strong in the market and still having clients sticking to bmobile, and also bring in more clients.
    October 23 at 8:08am · Like · 6
    Andrew James Lapthorne are there other offshore phone networks that they could link up with? vodaphone aus? optus? telstra?
    October 23 at 8:35am · Like · 1
    Paugs Bata There have been some talks recently with some companies from Dubai about a possible partnership with Bemobile … Lets just see what will happen.
    October 23 at 8:49am via mobile · Like
    Rausim Na they have to be a step better than Digicel. That is all they got to do
    October 23 at 9:09am · Like
    Jeffery Hasimani Yes, internet, thats all bemobile can win now, everything else.l digicel is flying.. you give better internet rates and youll find a mass.exodus of.customers from digicel to you..
    October 23 at 9:11am via mobile · Edited · Like · 4
    Ricardo Timapen Tested their “unlimited SMS” services on a SMS broadcast project and found out it was actually limited.
    October 23 at 9:49am via mobile · Edited · Like · 2
    William Уильям وليام Was the CEO post advertised or simply hand picked by IPBC due to Sundars connection with Digicel/IPBC
    Some things bemobile needs to immediately address and improve on 1. Network coverage 2. improve internet and extend coverage to rurals areas..3. better aggressive marketing strategies 4. Make use of the submarine bandwidth before digicel gets most…5. improve CUG with data services 6. finally, do not try copy whatever Digicel is doing but take advantage of digicel’s weakness
    What PNG really need is a reliable and affordable mobile service covering most parts of PNG and of course good customer/support service
    October 23 at 1:20pm · Edited · Like · 4
    Sylvester Sprautz Yakai Mr. Sundar, one good place to start out would be Western Province. Bmobile has no presence at all in this region.

    Do a pilot and see how things go and the useful lessons learnt from this pilot can serve as a template and with variety of customization to it, they can deploy their services to other similar geographical regions.
    October 23 at 10:00am · Like · 1
    Jessie James Wonder why the fijians pulled out was it because of the Indian connection as we all know what happened in Fiji. Typical appointing their own wantoks whilst Nationals are once again overlooked. Not a national company at all.!!!
    October 23 at 10:10am via mobile · Like
    Jeffery Hasimani Digicel is using retailer bullying tactics that I believe wallmart was sued for. They came into PNG on the back of many successful multinational chains and gave incrediblely affordable prices and drove telikom into the gutter. You have to watch that too if you are to compete well with them.
    October 23 at 10:16am via mobile · Edited · Like · 1
    Ricky Daniel Is bemobile ready to up the level of service as offered by Digicel? The advantage of wider network coverage by Digicel is dictating the cost price of its services and we the customers are feeling the brunt of this. Over to you bemobile.
    October 23 at 10:36am · Like
    Leslie Babaga Please pass my congratulations to Sundar Ramamurthy on his appointment.
    October 23 at 11:01am via mobile · Like
    Yala Stanley Khanna B Mobile is miles behind Digicel. Digicel is coming up with new campaigns and adverts every 4 or 5 months and B Mobile is going out trying its every best to put the fire off. If Sundar is smart he will come up with workable strategies.

    What was the reason of him selling his business before joining B Mobile.
    October 23 at 11:20am via mobile · Like · 2
    Alice A Lahari Improve network coverage in some areas in Pom especially where there are hills.
    October 23 at 11:38am via mobile · Like
    Emmanuel Narokobi Wasantha thanks once again for joining the discussion. So are you saying that there are plans for an IPO?
    October 23 at 11:41am · Like
    Ricardo Timapen Someone should check the new CEO, Sudars, business interest with Digicel? He ‘sold’ his business DataNetz and NEC to Digicel.

    On a different note; can the govt bring in outstanding individuals like Leo Busken to manage this company?? BeMobile just needs a good manager with less political interference
    October 23 at 12:02pm via mobile · Edited · Like · 3
    Ernie Gangloff Ricardo, I am sure the Board would have completed their due diligence as part of the recruitment process and been satisfied with the outcome.
    October 23 at 12:01pm · Like · 4
    Ricardo Timapen Good to know that Ernie Gangloff.
    October 23 at 12:04pm via mobile · Like

    1. You have a point, but even Samsung has been able to differentiate itself in its last models from the iPhone.

      There’s always room for innovation, the question is more, what are you willing to do to get there

  2. I live in my village, I had a dell old ispiron laptop that had its IDE hard drive crashed…completely out….the.Bios was working…I had to get it working somehow..could not get another harddisk…so I went online..did bit of search..and found tips on how I can change few file in windows xp I386 folder to run on,,,,usb flashdrive…now my laptop boots winxp OS from a 8 Gb toshiba flash drive..I can use my laptop now,,,watch movies,,play music,,and run office 2003 if I want too…then I thought,,.I’ve accomplished one bit of getting rid of bulky hard disk,,with a flash drive,,what if I just use something like a tablet,,or touch pad…this eliminates the other half of the laptop and keyboard….my point is we are in the room,,just have to open the doors…Bemobile needs to create a behieve…and all the bees will bring nectar to make honey flow…

  3. Manu, propose that name ” BEEHIVE” to Sundar as the new name for bemobile and it will be like they have found their ‘milk and honey’ for impact change and growth.

      1. And change bemobile colors to yellow n black..because this colors resemble alot similarities with environment people r famiiar with…bemobile was a bee..buzzz…thats what i knew few years back

  4. Manu, in addition I have suggestion that may present a catching image of bemobile, if opportunity allow I may post it here. This should bring glamour.

  5. WILL THE PRIME MINISTER ACT ON CORRUPTION IN WESTERN PROVINCE?

    The government of PNG has demonstrated that it is incapable of safeguarding the funds of Non CMCA villages’(South Fly affected villages who didn’t sign the CMCA Agreement) being part of the compensation moneys paid by BHP/Oktedi, as a direct result of the Court case in Melbourne by Fly River Landowners.

    Certain funds being dividends from Oktedi were parked as part of the compensation package for the Environmental destruction in two trust accounts (totalling several hundred Million Kina) under the principal care of the Governor of Western Province Hon. Ati Wobiro and the Secretary for Department of Mines and Geo-hazards, Mr. Shadrach Himata.

    Ati Wobiro, a man with double Masters in Economics, a former Provincial Planner of Western Province in the 1990s, former Acting Administrator of Department of Western, former country Manager of World Vision, former Church Elder of the Evangelical Church of Papua, former employee of PNGSDPL, and former 2 time loser for the Western Regional Seat, finally made it into the hot seat, unseating another son of the Church from Gogodala, Dr Danaya.

    Ati Wobiro was elected because we (the people) found Dr Danaya unreliable, untrustworthy, egotistical, and did not do much. Wobiro was elected instead because the people felt he was close to the ground and trustworthy.

    But, is Wobiro really close to the people, and is he truely worthy of their trust?

    Upon being elected, he sacked William Goinau the Provincial Administrator and appointed a fellow “bushman”, fellow devoutly religious, and fellow economist Dr Modowa Gumoi , to be the Provincial Administrator. No other Province in PNG has such highly qualified persons as Governor and Administrator- the Dream Team.

    But how are they perceived on the ground? What practical things have the Dream Team achieved so far?

    Some of their achievements have been aired in the media this last week by Mr William Goinau, playing the role of whistle blower. Admittedly there is an element of sour grapes in Goinau’s revelations. But his revelations are so serious, they cannot be dismissed offhandedly. So far no party named, including the Governor, has objected. Everyone has gone into hiding.

    Goinau alleged that:

    1. Wobiro & Gumoi circumvented normal tender processes and corruptly misused K36 Million Kina of the people’s moneys held in trust.
    2. There was no tender by the Western Province Supply & Tenders Board to award K36 Million worth contracts. All normal tender processes for transparency were not followed. This is against the Public Finances Management Act.
    3. K3 Million Kina was paid into KBB Oceania Ltd, owned by associates of Wobiro & Gumoi from whom they may have had a kick back.
    4. K2.6 Million to May Fuels Distributors Ltd, (May brothers) for Daru Beautification Project.

    May brothers are like family to Wobiro. They supported him during last election in kind, cash and logistics. Wobiro’s family connection with the Mays go right back to when (the brothers were toddlers then) their old man RON May as official signatory to the giant Wawi Guavi Timber project siphoned off Millions of Kina of landowner royalty and premium payments, and Wobiro as Provincial Planner and a short time as Administrator covered for him. Wobiro has since been a close family friend, and business advisor at various times to the Mays.

    Very little, in fact, nothing has been done on the ground by way of beautification of Daru town by the Mays. Instead the Mays have been busy buying up properties in Australia, Port Moresby and strengthening their strong grip over Daru township.

    5. K2.287 Million to May Fuels Distributors Ltd for Daru Sanitation & Garbage.

    Very little actual garbage or sanitation work has been done by the Mays. The council does its bit but not always effective. The Mays boast about the new properties they bought in Australia and Port Moresby, and appear in the bars of Port Moresby as the noveau riche of Western Province, while the people whose money they siphoned wallow in utter poverty.

    6. K5.5 Million Kina paid to Niugini Aviation Services Ltd for aviation services to Western Province.
    Niugini Aviation Services Ltd is owned by Mr Roxon Undi and his wife Mrs Ruth Undi, of Southern Highlands Province.

    Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi met Governor Wobiro in Port Moresby in isolated hotel rooms and restaurants where the Undi’s grand plan was slowly and carefully revealed and blessed. Prior to their meeting the Governor, their company had one small plane that they leased.

    The Undis are financial backers of Governor Agiru of Hela. They benefited to the tune of Millions of Kina from Governor Agiru’s road contracts in the Southern Highlands. Even though the roads were not completed, the Undis company Kana Constructions always got paid the full tender price anyway, thanks to a very flexible former CSTB Chairman, and happy Works Department staff.

    It was Governor Agiru who urged Wobiro to meet with Mr Undi and his wife Ruth Undi, whose other company Kana Group is also a contractor to Oktedi Mine and to Southern Highlands Province during Agiru’s time. Agiru and Wobiro are also both first born sons of the Evangelical Church of Papua, and currently working together on the new Nomad gas project.

    After agreement in principal, a bold proposal was cooked up whereby K5.5 million was to be paid by Wobiro from the trust. Roxon and Ruth Undi will then look after Governor and cover the Provincial Administrator (whom the Undis met separately). As planned the Undis sent the proposal up through the Administrator. The Governor pretended ignorance, went along and approved it. The payment was made without any tendering. The papers were signed off and witnessed between the Governor and the Administrator. Everyone involved to draw the funds was looked after.

    The Undis with just one small leased aircraft at that time, proposed in writing to supply Aviation services to 53 rural Airstrips in Western Province. There is a bound submission at the Governor’s office that looks and sounds like a con job. The numbers proposed showed flying hours between these 53 airstrips. This was impossible for one small aircraft to acheive. There is also another problem- there is only less than 10 strips open currently, and of these only half are serviceable. Everybody including the Undis (being contractors in Western Province) know which airstrips are open. They knowingly made false proposal and the Governor too should have known.

    As time revealed, Roxon & Ruth Undi used the K5.5 Million to buy themselves new airplanes. They had no intention of flying to airstrips that don’t exist. It is obvious they didn’t care. They were looking for free money to benefit themselves.

    Clearly this is a “CON” job on the people by Governor Wobiro and Dr Gumoi, and by Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi. It is clearly an illegal and corrupt payment because the proposal is not genuine and the money does not belong to the Governor and Dr Gumoi.

    Responsible authorities should investigate and criminally prosecute such people. The Accounts of Niugini Aviation, Roxon Undi, Ruth Undi and all their companies should be examined to see what happened to the K5.5 Million that was fraudulently and improperly obtained, and how much of it has been laundered off shore, and how much, if any, paid as kick backs.

    The Undis, have also been transferring funds to Australia and New Zealand just like the Mays. This situation is no different from what Mr Eremas Wartoto and Paul Tiensten have been accused of. Only the names are different, but everything else is the same.

    7. K2.996 MILLION PAID TO SOUTHERN CROSS ASSURANCE LIMITED AS INSURANCE PREMIUM.

    This is another company owned by Mr Roxon Undi and his wife Ruth Undi.

    It is yet another bogus proposal prepared by Mr Lohia Samuel the GM of Southern Cross Assurance Ltd, a newly set up insurance company. The proposal says that this company would provide individual life, health and other insurance cover for 65,000 people of Western Province.

    There is something wrong here because Western Province population is not 65,000. It is less than that. The people don’t know they have health or life insurance cover. Nobody has told them. No individual has seen a medical or life policy from the company. No person of Western Province has consented to be covered. No one has signed any policy. There are no procedures to claims. There are no names of the individuals covered. The money has been paid out but the people are dying every day from curable deceases.

    This bogus insurance proposal was prepared by Mr Lohia Samuel. The company has not covered anyone in truth. This is yet another fraudulent , deceptive and corrupt payout of the people’s funds.

    It is believed Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi put this proposal to the Governor at the same time as they put the Aviation proposal to him. Together they have benefitted illegally to the tune of K8.5 Million Kina from the people’s trust so far. An investigation by a Police Task Force or the Fraud squad, would reveal the whole truth.

    8. K 4.0 MILLION PAID TO POSMAN KUA AISI LAWYERS.

    Posman Kua Aisi Lawyers were paid K4 million which is a lot of money!

    What big work did these guys do to deserve to be paid so much money! At a time when we are seeing and hearing so many law firms in this country being branded as corrupt and ripping the government and small people off, with the Attorney General in the forefront of the counter action, we need to hear how this money was earned by the Attorney General’s law company.

    Mr Goinau says this firm did not do any work for Western Province during his time in office. He says that this law company in fact acted for the Governor during his recent election petition.

    Mr Goinau also believes a previous payment in the Millions was also paid to this firm out of the same fund. The Governors legal fee payment, if true, would also be an illegal payment from the people’s Trust funds. The Governor’s election petition is a private matter and a private expense. It is not an expense of the Provincial Government, or that of the affected Non CMCA Villages.

    For this payment(s) the law company needs to be fully investigated, and funds recovered and those involved prosecuted, and jailed. The Police and the courts must be allowed to do their jobs properly, without interference from the Attorney General or any other Politician.

    9. PRIME MINISTER’S RESPONSIBILITY.

    Mr Kerenga Kua is the Attorney General fighting the case of the State retaining control of landowner funds. It is his law company that is implicated as possibly taken over K4 Million of the Western People’s moneys from the Trust fund for defending the Governor Wobiro’s election petition. Will he move to protect his colleagues and his name that is still on the company? Kua has a serious conflict.

    While these revelations in the press have caught the Prime Minister off-guard, what is he going to do about it?

    Will the PM move to cover up for Mr Roxon Undi and Mrs Ruth Undi, his relatives and voters of his electorate, thereby cover up obvious corruption, or will he set up a Task Force specifically to look into these allegations in the interest of the nation? PNG will now know if the PM is serious about fighting corruption or not. All eyes are on him.

    Ideally, the Western Provincial Government should be suspended, and investigations should commence into these allegations. Will the Prime Minister move to suspend Western Province?

    Again it is up to the Prime Minister to ultimately protect the small people of Western Province and their funds. A police fraud squad task force, is the ideal way to go to investigate, interview, and if necessary, prosecute:
    1. The May brothers.
    2. May Fuel Distributors Ltd
    3. Roxon Undi.
    4. Ruth Undi.
    5. Niugini Aviation Services.
    6. Southern Cross Assurance Ltd.
    7. Mr Lohia Samuel.
    8. Posman Kua Aisi Law Company.
    9. Governor Wobiro.
    10. Dr Gumoi.
    11. Shadrach Himata.
    It is the wish of Western people for the Police to investigate and prosecute them, just like Tiensten and Wartoto, and let them tell the court what they did with the funds and who else benefitted.

    The Police should ask the Australian and Zealand authorities if they could help us bring back funds sent overseas by the May brothers, Roxon Undi, Ruth Undi, Lohia Samuel, and their companies. All funds should be fully recovered and the trust funds should be repaid.

    If the PM fails to suspend Western Province and institute a task force and prosecute these people, then he will have failed the long suffering people of Western Province. What hope is there for the rest of the country if this Prime Minister cannot help the people of Western Province at this time? And what hope is there for PNG if this PM is not serious about corruption that is so obvious?

    In the meantime, the trust funds should be released to the people’s own management. They are compensation funds for environmental damage. The people have suffered long enough. They are entitled to the funds. The people’s needs in health and education must be addressed now with these funds. They must decide what they should do with these funds without government interference.

    The State cannot be trusted with the funds anymore. Kerenga Kua as Attorney General cannot fight the case pending because he is tainted by K4 Million. The State (and the Prime Minister) must let the funds go to the people who deserve and need the money most, than to drag the people through the courts.

    By TUGIRI REIDA
    Morehead.

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