The only way is down: wholesale internet prices in Papua New Guinea fall


Reductions in the wholesale price of data and prospects for increased competition look set to deliver lower prices for business and consumers in Papua New Guinea, according to Paul Komboi, Chief Executive Officer of state-owned wholesaler, PNG DataCo.

Credit: PNG DataCo

Last week, state-owned telecommunications wholesaler PNG DataCo announced a 66 per cent price reduction for its Metro fibre connectivity services, as of 15 November.

Even before this latest move, PNG Dataco’s CEO Paul Komboi says there has been a reduction of ‘almost 40 per cent for the pricing for wholesale since the completion of the Coral Sea Cable in December 2019.

But what about price reductions for end-users?

‘We are promoting growth and advocating for huge price reductions offered to retailers, who need to pass some of that benefit to their customers,’ he says.

Increased competition, he explains, could also impact the prices. ‘When Vodafone comes in, that will add on to that competition and contribute to the reduction in pricing. I hope by 2022 we will see at least a 50 per cent reduction in the retail price. I think the market will move very fast and it will be very aggressive as well.

‘Either the market will force that to happen or we will see the regulator stepping in. We know that Telstra is also coming on board now.

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‘That will also create a different dynamic in the market place. We are all hoping that will continue to put pressure on the price of services to the people.’


DataCo’s Paul Komboi. Credit: DataCo

During the recent 2021 Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference, Komboi gave an update on several initiatives being undertaken by DataCo.

‘We have been participating in the industry as an on-seller, focusing on the fibre assets and satellite assets. We provide services to Digicel, PNG Telikom and bmobile. And now we are looking very closely at Vodafone.’ (Vodafone is expected to launch in PNG in 2022.)

Komboi noted that there has been a steady increase in the take-up of broadband technology in the country, with data volumes increasingly by more than ten times over the past seven years.

‘We are basically up to around 22 gigs [gigabytes] on average being managed throughout the country, both domestically and internationally. In 2014, we had only around 2 gigs.’

Over that same period, wholesale prices have reduced from about K3000 per Mbps (megabits per second) in 2014 down to K300 now.

‘That is a very big reduction in price. Our network is all around the country as we continue to extend further and further into those economic zones and where the population is. We are in the 16 coastal provinces as well as all the Highlands provinces in terrestrial fibre,’ said Komboi.

The price reduction brought in this week brings down the wholesale unit price per month for lower capacities from K145 per Mbps to K50 per Mbps.


In addition to its cable and transmission infrastructure, DataCo now also has two operational data centres: one in Madang and one in Port Moresby, ‘where you can just come and follow with us, or share infrastructure to suit your needs.’

‘We have got around 16 hubs where you can connect to us and access the internet directly,’ says Komboi. ‘We have also got five international hubs, including one in Jaipura, one in Sydney and also one in Perth.’

Komboi said the digital infrastructure will help government ‘transform into the digital economic in servicing its people’, including providing more efficient e-government services. It also opens up the opportunity for businesses to use cloud services, which will reduce costs. ‘You pay as you require, you don’t have to invest in capital expenditures,’ he said.


  1. Keith Kingston says

    Given the deplorable internet service in Morobe province the concern of businesses is the service will be like the wholesale prices and continue to decline. Surely the focus should be on service and understanding the frustration businesses suffer when they have to sit and wait for a response on the internet. Mobile phone services are no better and probably are actually worse. Voice is garbled on local calls. Phone calls to overseas can take up to 11 attempts to get through. Land lines are no different. Its all very well having maps with coloured lines depicting the connections but if they do not enable users to connect and do their work then prices play a secondary position for businesses.

    • Thank you for sharing. When last year I made similar comments on the disastrous service to PNG universities, DataCo employees said it was not true. At this rate another 20 years wasted before PNG business, health and education sector get the internet connectivity that they need nowadays.

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