With fixed teledensity having seen little change over the past two decades, progress in Papua New Guinea’s telecommunications has come primarily from mobile networks, reports Research & Markets.
Mobile access has expanded from less than 3% population coverage in 2006 to more than 89% today, with a combination of 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks on offer depending on location. 2G still exists in many rural and remote areas, with 3G and 4G/LTE centred more on urban areas. The successful launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in December 2019 will do much to improve mobile services in PNG.
Network deployment costs are high in PNG due to the relatively low subscriber base, the impervious terrain, and the high proportion of the population living in rural areas. As a result, fixed telecom infrastructure is almost non-existent outside urban centres, leaving most of the population un-serviced.
The existing submarine cable infrastructure is also no longer adequate and Internet services are expensive and slow. Internet access is expected to improve however, with the build-out of a new submarine cable known as the Coral Sea Cable System which will link PNG to the Solomon Islands, with a connecting cable to the Australian (Sydney) landing station. It will provide increased capacity and reliability as well reduce Internet costs for consumers. In mid-2019 work had begun on deploying the system, beginning in the Solomon Islands and moving across to Sydney.
The government is currently introducing its national strategy ‘Vision 2050’, which is anticipated to address long-term infrastructure requirements, improve general living conditions, and maintain economic stability.