Papua New Guinea has reportedly awarded a new mobile network operator concession said to be worth more than USD260 million, according to Islands Business. Dubai-based multinational AWAL Telecommunications, a unit of AWAL Impex International Holdings Ltd, has been named as the recipient of the licence, which according to the website of local telecoms regulator the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) was actually issued on 14 March 2014 and is valid for ten years. However, the presentation of the concession was said to have been carried out in a low key event conducted early last month and attended by the Communication and Information Minister Jimmy Miringtoro and the NICTA’s manager of international affairs Jackson Kariko. Awal has actually been granted three licences – an Individual Network Gateway Services Licence, an Individual Application Licence and an Individual Network Licence – in order to enable it to enter the country’s mobile sector.
While AWAL is said to also be examining a possible entry into Papua New Guinea’s gas and electricity sectors, telecoms is the group’s first priority. To that end, AWAL CEO Sakib Mahabubur Rahman was cited as saying of his company’s plans for the country: ‘AWAL will definitely be a catalyst in the development of the country’s infrastructure, especially the telecom sector. AWAL’s top priority will primarily be at making the telecom facility available to the entire population of Papua New Guinea by improving the network coverage. AWAL will make sure that Papua New Guinea’s telecom network is at par with the international telecom operators.’