Is Digicel Becoming a Bigger Better Monopoly in PNG?

By Emmanuel Bobola

PNG will soon be bossed around by Digicel PNG who has enormous political support with goals that are not in line with the goals of this Nation.

They are not evil, they are a good company, but their motives and goals are to serve their shareholders and to make as much profit as possible. It is money that fuels this whole thing and since the acquisition of Online Pacific (Datanets) and Remington ISP & VSAT and now Daltron ISP & VSAT, Digicel is poised to dominate the Internet services much as it has with mobile phone services in PNG.

This domination by Digicel in 2014 and onward is a worrying trend. Communications (Internet) like electricity can enhance the lives of PNGeans if it is affordable; however the looming Internet monopoly can have serious negative effects on our economy.

https://i2.wp.com/www.radioheritage.net/Images/Story212/PNG%20Digicel%20coverage%20map%20360w.jpgCommunications must not become a luxury to be afforded by a certain few. The impact of this will be immense given the fact that the National Government has turned its focus on to SME’s and the rural sector to help boost our economy through its National Transmission Network Strategy.

Both these Government initiatives will depend heavily on two commodities, Power and Communications both of which are not being sufficiently provided for by our SOE’s.

The Department of Information and Communication, NICTA and ICCC must come out and inform the public why the continuous acquisition of ISPs and Communications Companies by Digicel have not been discussed and analyzed.

It is of National interest because our economy depends heavily on communications. The regional and global Internet goals by Governments in general are to reduce Internet tariffs , increase Internet penetration and volume and liberalize Internet markets.

Whilst our region is heading to improve Internet penetration numbers and service levels, the buyout of 3 independent ISP & VSAT companies is a sure sign of the development of a monopoly. We do not want to return to the 1990s where the monopoly of the incumbent made Internet and Communications services in PNG a luxury commodity.

The Government should intervene to put a price cap on Internet tariffs and regulate it somewhere to help PNG increase its Internet penetration around the country and ensure that Internet is reliable and affordable.

Can the Government not see that Digicel’s strategy is in direct competition to the National Transmission Network spear headed by IPBC and PNG Dataco Limited?

Wake up everyone!

——————————————————————————-

Daltron/Digicel Announcement

on 12 December, 2013 at 16:55

Message from Graham Rix: CEO / General Manager, Daltron

Thank you for being a loyal customer of Daltron’s this past year. We trust you have had a great year and you are looking forward to 2014. Daltron has had a successful year thanks to your support and we will endeavor to deliver and improve our service to you in 2014.
As part of our plans to improve our products and services in 2014 we have formed a strategic partnership with Digicel. Set out below is a press statement that we are very excited about and will be published in the media in the coming days.
Daltron positions itself to offer a broader VSAT & ISP coverage to customers

Daltron has entered into a wholesale arrangement with Digicel to offer existing and new customers a much wider range of VSAT & ISP services. This exciting arrangement allows Daltron to utilise Digicel’s national infrastructure. Under the wholesale agreement, Daltron will maintain service, installation, support and invoicing to customers directly or request Digicel to assist as required.

Graham Rix CEO of Daltron stated “Daltron has a strong ISP and VSAT customer base which will be serviced significantly better under this arrangement. More importantly it gives Daltron a much broader geographic reach in terms of providing services to the PNG marketplace and also provides Digicel with a very experienced channel to market through which to sell its ICT products to corporate customers”.

John Mangos, CEO of Digicel stated “This wholesale type of arrangement is used widely in other countries but is new for Digicel and Daltron in PNG and we are very pleased to have Daltron as our first wholesale corporate customer”.

At Daltron the team can now provide the best broadband services using Digicel’s 3G and soon to be released 4G Services. In addition we have access to increased VSAT technologies and satellite services in order to give customers the best connectivity options, better pricing and improved customer support and care. The Daltron- Digicel arrangement means that Daltron can now provide the best communication service (ISP & VSAT) to its customers throughout PNG.

This coupled with our other products and services means Daltron is now a complete ICT provider covering everything from Communications, Enterprise solutions, Networking, Professional Services, and Managed services, Datacentre, Training and Retail. With a certified service team in country to support you.

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4 thoughts on “Is Digicel Becoming a Bigger Better Monopoly in PNG?

  1. George Cvetanovski commented on on this article in LinkedIn

    “Its not uncommon for a Telco to dominate a regional-market over its competitive peers. it is unfortunate for PNG nationals that its not their national Telco – Telikom PNG (TPNG). The PNG Govt, to level the playing field, should invest in eco-Sustainable Data Centres deployed on TPNG land along the main arteries of the NBN for a faster ROI and a faster Pay-Back period to materialise across the entire investment – NBN + eco-Sustainable-Datacentres.”

  2. Some discussions on this from the PNG ICT Community FB page:

    Marsh Narewec Very true Kande. Telikom and Bemobile really need to step up. They are the only hope we have to bring down the price of Internet.

    Ralema Geno This is what happens when Our own PNGean leaders involved are utilising such for own personal gain, what is the government let alone ICCC doing? Sleeping? Everyone support Telikom PNG.

    Ricardo Timapen This is the very opportune time the Telikom Marketing/Branding team should be throwing in the challenge. What are they waiting for? But reality might be too far in the further. ICCC? NICTA? DCI? IPBC?

    Soxx Muitech Its too late. Digicel basically took advantage of the naive, corrupt and complacent atitude that exist in our govt system. TPNG thought that they can hold onto the monopoly using the law then sitting back. They never thought that digicel would circumvent this shortfall. Pillim nau. I personally blame tpng for not listening to opinions from peer communities na nau we want to cry faul? Sad but true.

    Emmanuel Bobola Its not about crying faul, it is about the price and quality of internet, just like the mobile wars, PNG internet consumers will feel the brunt of this.Internet Monopoly like all monopoly has immense negative impact on the economy of countries.

    Soxx Muitech Digicel will have their own fibre and will implement O3B sats. They have the coverage penetration and they will kill off telikom png by next year. Notice how I have not mentioned Bemobile. Why? because they are a conquered company, they just don’t know it yet

    Marsh Narewec What can we as PNGICT community do to go up against this threat??

    Soxx Muitech We need solid people in key roles in our regulatory offices and in our SOEs to actually be competition material. With complacent fools only their for the fortnight, how do we expect to beat a real player like Digicel? And Manu, I hope you’re vying for one of these positions.

    Marsh. its not a threat for us. its an opportunity for SMBs and individuals in this industry to take advantage of the vacuum created in the absence of downstream internet services by major players.

    Jace Aison Telikom has to go back to the drawing board and strategise for the better.

    Ralema Geno SMEs need to take advantage one marketing/promotions…..not only that PNG choose to support PNG

    Soxx Muitech Our problem is we are so ‘late bus’ in everything. yumi sa wetim go last minute na behain la traim lo move. mekim worse, people in the right places are too arrogant to listen to the little people. and the worse part is the little people get to suffer.

    Maeve Maibu Bais Well, we need a department of information technology to develop ITC policies in accordance with international best practises….the current department of Information n communication is headed by media personnel ….what do u expect??”’ n the recent IT projects are a result of this….there’s so much we can contribute….but how can you talk IT standards, policies etc to encourage competition to a journo…two different languages = no communication…I brought this up before…it is about time png…media communication n IT are completely two different worlds…. The end result…IGIS project…no need tru…

    Noel Kibai This is very, very bad and unhealthy for our economy. We, the ordinary people, will feel the effect of it.

    Ricardo Timapen Can this group alert the government as well as the general consumer by way of doing a protest letter/press statement to government aka relevant agencies? I mean what do we get out of discussing in isolation? Most important issues have been identified and discussed already. We only compile
    Tok tasol

    Ralema Geno @Ricardo you are absolutely right but we need to do some homework on how to go about this! A committee needs to be organised to pursue this!

    Maeve Maibu Bais Correct me if I am wrong….but it was in the papers a While back…. digicel’s mother company in Ireland has won the contract to lay fibre for the NBN. So u see the trend???

    Gibson Reuben @Ralema – and the committee should not be a duplicate – it should be carved out of PNG Computer Society and stakeholders – it should rise up as a real voice and a power to be reckoned in the industry.

    Douglas Keari Emmanuel Bobola thanks for highlighting this.IPBC awarded Digicel US$15 million contract to roll-out high speed fibre optic network in the country.

    Digicels acquisition of Remington and Daltron will not improve the quality of service since this two companies are basically Wireless Internet Service providers.My experience with Daltron is that the WISP services are not reliable and is prone to interference. Wireless market is very competitive nowadays with many local and overseas players. So market saturation and quality will be a major factor in their competitiveness. I somehow don’t believe that Remington and Daltron has the customer volume since Remington ISP is fairly new in the market and Daltron was struggling before the purchase.

    In my opinion Telikom still has a much superior Product than Digicel with their wired internet services. Telikom should become a wholesaler of Wireless Internet Solutions because they can’t compete with digicel. Their focus should be on improving their services through their current copper wire and fibre network. They should look at Telstra’s Bigpond as a model to rollout online entertainment and others. In the meantime they need to work on their support and customer service.

    Ricardo Timapen Gibson Reuben I like your idea. But we can’t wait till more acquisitions are done. Here an option for this group to present the “what lies ahead”. I think we as collective independent technical people should raise the warning.

    Ralema Geno This situation is always happening, government keeps going ahead and keep second grading it’s own ICT people and companies, if we keep letting this happen then there is no point to Be in this industry, we are all ICT professionals and understand the implications, advantages, risks for these type of monopolised purchases, but we don’t even do anything to improve the process to ensure that we minimise outcomes of such! Nogat, we just jump on the late bus and react! What happen to proactive, prevention?

    Marsh Narewec I think its best PNG Computer Society put out a press release on what Manu has mentioned. What is its position?

    Gibson Reuben MarshN – correct! PNG Computer Society is the most able body that has been under utalized and have been silent on these and many industry-related issues ever since. I mentioned “stakeholders” above because the ICT Industry/Businesses plus some of you in here can add vigor and traction when combined with PNG Computer Society to alert Government and its agencies of the danger in the current trend.

    Half Cents
    PNGCS will never voice these concerns. Its not in their survival interested. PNGCS is owned by corporate sponsorship and will not bite the hand that feeds them

    Emmanuel Bobola This concern is the role of ICCC and Department of Information and Communication. They have to look at this at a National level and look at its social and economic impact in line with the Governments vision and strategies.

    Malican Igua We can not just sit down and make noise, RISE UP GUYS….lets show all foreign ISP’s that we have the brains and we can do it…regardless of the monopoly, we can outsmart them. I don’t know about you guys but am teaming with my partners (100% PNG brains) and will be running in the same playing field very soon. We need your support guys…

    Douglas Keari Digicel has positioned themselves strategically making it easier for Govt to use them as a development partner. If the vision 2050 or 2030 is to become a reality within the next 5 years then it must use whichever private sector member that is on the ground. Telikom had their chance but blew it. It would be better for them to identify their strengths and realign themselves. Given the evidence of the impact Digicel had in transforming our society in less than 5 years competition is good.

    Internet access is still a bigger challenge in the country and it’s also associated with the level of illiteracy and education. Our majority who lives in rural areas do not fully understand the advantage of internet but once they do our ICT will see a huge leap.

    Maeve Maibu Bais The best place is to put a research paper together n present it in the Science n technology seminar coming up in aug…the call for paper comes out in feb so I put my hand up to do a paper on this…and I invite my bro Emmanuel Bobola to co author the paper…if u are interested then put your hand up now…over to you all…

    Ralema Geno @maeve, Count me in, pls keep me in the loop on this as I would like to get involved!

    Dii Thomas Competition is good for the consumers but when the competitors combine to take advantage of the consumers, price controllers and regulators like iccc and nicta has to step up. Vision 2050 or any other Visions will not become real without tangible sources of knowledge such as the Internet. There is a teenager in India who has learnt most of his stuff from the Internet and has built a 3D printer. Wow!

    Soxx Muitech @maeve: start a new post and we can brainstorm it right here right now

    I was ask to post this question by a mate who has some business law background: Are all our comments based on preemptive market trends assessments or just purely circumstantial opinions based on personal observation of the country’s socio-economic trend in technological advancements?

    Maeve Maibu Bais Good idea Soxx…. We need to come up with points ….i suggest we throw in constructive ideas relevant to the discussion which can be used to form the main points of the paper…

    There is enough data to make a conclusion that a giant is dominating the ISP market….however, a comparative analysis of this trend with other developing countries may reveal interesting findings….we can look at Vanuatu, fiji, India, sri lanka and some other developing countries to substantiate our claim….

  3. Is it any wonder that a foreign company can casually progress with new networking solutions, faster service and better products, while lo and behold our very nation’s telecommunications provider does jack. When is Telikom going to pick up the pace? When are the broadband services going to reach the masses? When are services going to be better?

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