ATH

PNG’s $25 million cash boost to finance 4G network

04 September 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Papua New Guinea is to receive an investment of US$25 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance a greenfield 4G mobile network.

The beneficiary, ATH International Venture Pte. Limited, (ATHIV) is a subsidiary of Fiji’s Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), and its new network is expected to enhance mobile, broadband and internet services in the country, while opening new opportunities for job creation and socioeconomic growth.    

ADB’s contribution has been called a “cornerstone investment” for the project.

“This investment demonstrates our continued efforts to deliver essential and affordable infrastructure services to the people of PNG,” said Jackie B. Surtani, infrastructure finance division director for Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific at ADB's private sector operations department

“Improved mobile services in PNG will increase domestic and regional connectivity and serve as a powerful access tool for other sectors of the economy such as telemedicine, education, and banking,” Surtani added.

According to commentary from ADB, Papua New Guinea is the Pacific region’s largest but least-developed telecommunications market, with only 11% of the population able to connect to the internet.

In addition to the community and economic benefits of the new network, it is also expected to provide better access to digital services in finance, public health, and education. The investment is expected to improve PNG’s business environment through private sector development, and lift investor confidence in the telecommunications sector.

ATH, the project sponsor, is Fiji's principal telecommunications holding company that pioneered 4G technology in Fiji. It has extensive experience in the Pacific telecoms market, with operations in Kiribati, Vanuatu, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, and PNG. Vodafone Fiji Pte. Limited, ATH’s largest subsidiary, will manage the project rollout and subsequent operations in PNG.

ATH’s CEO Ivan Fong, said: “We are pleased to welcome ADB as a cornerstone investor and key partner in our PNG venture.

“The investment from ADB is a great endorsement for the project and its sponsors, and we look forward to working with ADB to deliver superior technology and services to our customers in PNG, especially those living in remote and low-income parts of the country,” Fong added.

In other news from PNG, last month a Huawei-built data centre was found to have serious security vulnerabilities. The project was part of a US$147 million digital support package from China to PNG which is also funding a national broadband network.