How do you like them apples?

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Just 2 years ago I was angrily cursing the air that Telikom transmitted into and the difference between Telikom and Digicel was like comparing apples and oranges. The levels of frustration against Telikom were rising like a hollywood tidal wave and it was no wonder that Digicel came crashing through the storm in PNG to establish themslevs so firmly as they did. CEO of Telikom Peter Loko at that time got well and truly behind the change campaign and with the help of Murdifications (the same guys behind ‘THE’ BSP campaign), they rolled out allot of feel good video’s and newspaper ads to make us feel proud of them being ‘always there’.

I didn’t buy it at the time and it was annoying to see those TV ads because at the end of the day, I guess what we all wanted was to see their actions speak louder than their TV ads. So its true, I no longer see Peter Loko in the media anymore and I have to admit today that I am less frustrated at them now because of their ADSL service which I am currently using and loving. Telikom’s landline service and customer support for it still needs allot of work, but I just wanted to say that credit is due for some of their latest moves.

We are yet to see and hear what the new BMobile under the Black Dolphin management will look like, but if they can work on building their capacity to roll out their new initiatives it would go along way towards getting money into their pockets immediately in the short term. As an example, I applied in July last year for my ADSL and I got it in February this year, so you can imagine the number of friends and family who are asking me how to get connected but Telikom is unable to roll it out fast enough. And now they have their new X’cess service which is an interesting oxymoron in itself by being a fixed wireless service (a friend came by the office yesterday with one in his backpack, like WTF???). They perhaps also could have had a longer think about the name as it sounds more like Excess rather than Access but as I said their actions are definately saying things this year.

The X’cess service is an interesting one. Its a fixed wireless service, which essentially is a landline type handset but with an aeriel in the side to connect to their wireless network, (in a way, it could just be a big mobile phone). I can see huge benefits here for settlements, semi urban villages and well just villages as well with these phones, because you can use it also for faxing and dial up internet just like a landline. So although on some level it may appear like a step backwards it certainly is relevant to our circumstances in PNG. Small businesses, coastal Islands, health centres, schools all could benefit greatly from this pre-paid service.

So if something like X’cess is possible, can they work on my USB broadband request sometime soon as well? Why does internet access have to depend on where you are? (and I mean besides the Digicel blackberry of course). Which leads on to the question of why doing business also should depend on where you are.  The difference between apples and oranges is slowly blurring now because with an improved wireless network besides inititives like X’cess and yes the Blackberry we have now also seen a number of SMS inititives being employed the most recent one being Esi Pei payments via SMS. The uses for our communication devices are therefore increasing by the day, and I’m sure the guys at Telikom would be more than pleased to ask, ‘…how do you like them apples?’ (well for now anyway…)