Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP acknowledged the Telstra announcement through a Market Release on the 25th of October 2021 that Telstra will acquire Digicel Pacific. He acknowledged that this is a commercial transaction that has been concluded under the present regulatory environment which encourages investments in the sector.
The Prime Minister welcomes the investment of up to K4.9 billion (Au$1.85 billion) and stated that all Government and regulatory approvals will take their normal course for the acquisition to be completed. He acknowledged the massive involvement of Export Finance Australia in this transaction. This was expressed during a recent meeting between the Prime Minister and Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Penn.
Prime Minister Marape also thanked Mr. Denis O’Brien and Digicel for their investment and dedication to Papua New Guinea since they came into the market in 2007. Papua New Guinea is Digicel’s most successful market in the Pacific. It has the largest market share in Papua New Guinea, and its takeover by a substantial reputable communications company in the region, ensures that there is continuity in the services that support such critical sectors as financial services and banking.
In a letter to Mr. O’Brien today Mr. Marape said:
“Digicel has been responsible for significant direct and indirect economic and social development across the country. Digicel connected towns and villages, friends and family. It was Digicel which redefined what mobile telephony meant for our people, and opened up the different market segments that no one thought existed.”
Prime Minister Marape also thanked Telstra for its investment and looked forward to plans to develop the network further, for the betterment of the citizens of Papua New Guinea.
The Prime Minister has asked Telstra to consider future ownership structures which could represent strong and reputable participation of Papua New Guinea institutions and investors, leveraging off on the strong branding that Telstra brings to the market, and on commercial terms.
The Government has recently paved the way for the partial privatisation of state-owned telecommunication assets through comprehensive reform and the merger of the retail communications companies. Domestic institutional investors will take up majority share and Board control, with Government having limited control and passive shareholding.
The Prime Minister stressed that telecommunications services are critical to Papua New Guinea’s social and economic development.
“Our government remains steadfast in its determination to further liberalise our communications market, through increased competition. We have invested heavily in communications because of the benefits to our citizens through the development of more affordable, reliable, and accessible networks.”
“The cooperation between Telstra and the Australian Government should provide opportunities for the increased use of state-owned wholesale assets to meet service requirements for the betterment of telecommunications across the country,” stated the Prime Minister.
There is an expectation that wherever possible infrastructure sharing will be encouraged, reducing the need to erect several towers at the same location. Telikom will welcome the opportunity to collocate on Digicel infrastructure”.