Papua New Guinea’s government has claimed that its decision to merge Telikom PNG with cellular operator bmobile and wholesale operator PNG DataCo is the only way to save the fixed line incumbent. The National cites Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment William Duma as saying that Telikom is ‘broke’ and that a restructuring is the only forward.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, plans for a merger of Telikom, bmobile and PNG DataCo – all of which are state-owned telecoms entities – were confirmed in February 2017, at which date the National Executive Committee approved Decision No. 360 of 2016. Under this, a three-way merger is to be undertaken with a view to improving coordination and efficiencies across management and infrastructure, while creating a stronger, vertically-integrated company.
Response to proposed tie-up has been less than favourable, however, notably from the firms’ employees who are protesting the move over fears of layoffs. Duma has sought to quell such concerns though, noting: ‘Considering the tough economic times, we will not have any more termination of workers on the streets. Their jobs are secure’. He added: ‘As it is now, Telikom is broke and it is not making any money and to save the company from the banks, restructure is the only way.’