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Merging of bmobile, Telikom PNG critical: Masiu

Papua New Guinea  COMMUNICATION and Information Technology Minister Timothy Masiu says the merging of bmobile and Telikom PNG into a single retail operator was critical as it would improve access in the country.

Masiu, who is also a member of the Ministerial Committee for State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Reform, said in a statement that State Enterprises Minister Sasindran Muthuvel inherited a great challenge because of the investment decisions made in the past and now looking at what was best for the people.

“Legally speaking, merging bmobile and Telikom is a challenge because of the cross-collateralisation arrangements in place on assets,” he said of the merger which is expected to be completed by early next year.

“Technically speaking, the integration of two SOE mobile networks also has cost implications. I know that it has taken time to come to this point where my colleague Minister for State Enterprises is ready to push the proposal to integrate our networks because he had to thoroughly consider all business options and ensure the appropriate numbers were before him.”

Masiu highlighted that taking into account the K1.6 billion loan taken from China’s Exim Bank to expand the network coverage and coupled with the recent asset audits undertaken, the Government was now ready to consider the option of investing in the merger – before making any further consideration as to the future of the telecommunication SOEs.

“After considering a wide range of reform options, merging is the best decision for the business and this will pave a way forward to a liberalised market.” The National/PNGEhow

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