Five questions for Danny Chew, CEO of Vodafone PNG


On the cusp of the Vodafone PNG’s first anniversary, Business Advantage PNG caught up with recently-appointed  CEO, Danny Chew. He reflects on how the new entrant has changed the dynamics of Papua New Guinea’s telco market, and shares what’s in store.

Vodafone PNG’s Danny Chew. Credit: BAI

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): Why is it so important for another major telco to have entered the PNG market?

Danny Chew (DC): Businesses are telling us is that one telco isn’t enough. What we’ve done in Fiji is a good example of the services we want to replicate in PNG. As a second provider, we’re giving customers real choice, and the investment we’ve made in data centres gives business owners the confidence that they can shop around, achieve connectivity between themselves and the ability to scale.

BAPNG: So far, PNG businesses have been reluctant to adopt cloud services, do you expect this to change?

DC: PNG businesses have been waiting for a reliable ISP partner that can deliver a multiplicity of services. We’re having a lot of conversations with corporate customers around solutions built over things like disaster recovery, business continuity planning and co-location. A lot of these businesses are moving to a model where they outsource various infrastructure requirements to expert telcos like us, which lets them focus solely on their core business.

‘Vodafone PNG won’t be here in 40 years if all we do is buy wholesale airtime off somebody else.’

BAPNG: Why is a tower network critical to Vodafone PNG’s future?

DC: Vodafone PNG won’t be here in 40 years if all we do is buy wholesale airtime off somebody else. We’re here to stay: we have a full 360 [degrees] operation and will eventually move more into adjacent services.

Mobile money is on the horizon, but given that we’re still in expansion mode, we remain focused on mobility. Our tower number is now 300 and, given the spectrum that we have, we may at some point require 1,000 to reach 85 per cent coverage of the population.

BAPNG: How important are data centres to your operation?

DC: They’re a critical part of our business, with 85 per cent of our revenue currently being data driven, and 65 per cent coming from Port Moresby alone.

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Shortly, we’ll be able carry local data across three additional centres, including Lae, Mt Hagen as well as Kokopo, allowing us to re-locate traffic as the network expands to maximise resilience and reliability and this builds redundancy in the core network.

The consumer market, which is increasingly focused on data, provides 90 per cent of our revenue and subscriber numbers. But over time, as we build the network, we’ll see a better balance between data and voice revenue, which currently accounts for 15 per cent.

BAPNG: What will drive the continued uptake of mobile phones?

DC: Lower price points, coupled with government subsidies where possible, will help increase affordability and drive the adoption of mobile devices and usage of social platforms from two million people to four million.

Increasing electrification from 15 per cent to 70 per cent of PNG by 2030 will also boost the uptake of [cheaper] handsets.

Given that customers are reluctant to lose their number, and that mobile number portability is not in play yet, a lot of the phones we’re offering are dual SIM, allowing them to use their Vodafone PNG SIM in the primary slot and in the secondary slot they can put their existing operator and toggle between the two.


  1. Kathrien Aisi says

    Congratulations to the silent undermined pioneers of Vodafone PNG Rollout Team-Mr. Laua you did what you had to do to keep the ball rolling..cheers to vada fone

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