Papua New Guinean mobile network operator bemobile is said to be negotiating with the Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) with a view to the latter increasing its stake in the cellco. According to the Fiji Times Online, bemobile’s chairman Syd Yates has claimed that such a move would increase the level of investment and control in bemobile by the Papua New Guinean authorities; state-owned IPBC is a statutory corporation that holds a number of government-owned enterprises. ‘bemobile’s shareholders remain committed to growing [the] business and to providing its customers with the best and most efficient network in Papua New Guinea,’ Mr Yates said, adding: ‘Additional investment decisions designed to further improve bemobile’s network will be made within the next few weeks.’ Further, with the assistance of the IPBC, bemobile has reportedly entered into interim arrangements with its present network equipment supplier to bolster its infrastructure.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in early August 2013 a deal which would have seen Vodafone Fiji manage bemobile was called off amid suggestions of ongoing differences between the two parties over the use of a contractor to roll out the joint-venture’s new infrastructure. Less than a week later, however, it was claimed that negotiations had restarted over a possible tie-up. With Fiji’s National Provident Fund (FPNF) chairman Ajith Kodagoda confirming that discussions with the IPBC were again underway.