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It’s been a burden consumers wanted off their shoulders for many since the introduction of mobile phones to Papua New Guinea.
They want mobile call and data rates to be affordable. Good news came 21 years after the introduction of mobile phones to PNG though.
This was when Dataco General Manager Commercial, Une O’Ome made a key announcement regarding the internet price to be slashed during their pre sale function held at Hilton hotel in 2019.
He said internet pricing should be slashed by about 42 per cent thanks to the coral sea cable already landing in Port Moresby and the link between Sydney and Port Moresby has been established.
“Once the Coral Sea Cable System is up, we will have 1000 megabytes per second (mps) of internet speed which is 100 times faster than the current speed of 35 mps,” O’Ome said.
Prior to the announcement by DataCo wholesale internet price was going at K640 per gigabyte.
But with improved connectivity the price should be reduced to K350 per gigabyte.
These internet price reduction took effect after Prime Minister James Marape took office in May 2019 and his first Information and Communications Minister Rainbo Paita officially announced new rates for government owned Telikom and Bemobile two months later at Parliament’s state function room.
There was commendation from consumers who can afford 500MB of data a day for K3.00 as minimum fees. K55 for 10GB for 30 days.
Call rates went to as friendly as K3 for unlimited onnet calls a day.
Another telecommunications company Digicel also reduced their call and data rates and otherwise offered better plans to consumers-a dream that consumers thought was never going to be achieved.
Papua New Guinea was before then described as the Pacific country with very high internet and data rates.
DataCo was able to further run the submarine cables across the coasts connecting provinces and they were able to venture inland to the highlands to fulfil the governments national transmission network to make internet and connectivity for business, banking and government communications user-friendly.
As far as individuals were concerned, they were able to socialize get into online business marketing straight from their homes using smart phones and they were able to read widely increasing their knowledge and understanding.
Papua New Guineas got into digital productions and market their products on YouTube and other social media platforms.
Bank South Pacific and Kina Bank introduced their internet payment gateway (IPG) systems and many companies got on the bandwagon setting up payment systems and being able to accept payments through the internet for goods or services.
There were many companies-it was like a revolution.
We would like to highlight the Stop and Shop chain of supermarket, a part of the City Pharmacy Group.
The current options allow customers to pay online and have their groceries delivered by a local delivery company, or the pay-and-pick service where customers can pay online and pick up ready-to-go packages at Stop & Shop Harbour city. Eventually, this service will be available via all of CPL’s nationwide footprint in its City pharmacy and Hardware Haus outlets across the nation, being the first for PNG.
Online news website have also increased and this has given a new challenge to traditional media attempting to produce content and sell.
As the New Year approaches, digital transformation has peaked and the impact of what lies ahead is unpredictable but what is very sure is people are making using of the digital transformation.
The 2022 National General Elections would be a big event and it is worth watching how candidates will use the digital transformation.
Government’s have been scrutinized by citizens. But the government has also been critical about the challenge to manage decorum in forum on national matters.
What sure has changed is many people can afford data as compare to two decades ago and they are into business and communications.