Papua New Guinea’s Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has granted approval for the transfer of all shares held in mobile network operator (MNO) bmobile to Kumul Telikom Holdings (KTH) from state-owned statutory corporation Kumul Consolidated Holding Limited (KCHL). According to local news outlet the Post Courier, in November 2018 KCHL applied to the ICCC seeking clearance to transfer all its shares in the MNO, and with that now forthcoming through the decision given to allow the transfer, ICCC Commissioner and CEO Paulus Ain was cited as saying: ‘The ICCC completed its assessment of KCHL’s application and granted clearance for KCHL to proceed with the proposed transfer after it concluded that the proposed share transfer will not, and will not be likely to, have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the market for the provision of retail mobile voice, SMS and internet services in PNG.’
This share transfer is being undertaken with a view to realising the government’s aim of restructuring the country’s state-owned telecoms enterprises by consolidating bmobile, PNG DataCo and Telikom under KTH as the single holding company. Ain clarified that the share transfer would involve the transfer of shares only, with no assets to be transferred between bmobile, DataCo and Telikom PNG as a result. ‘The restructure would result in Telikom PNG, DataCo and bmobile becoming wholly owned subsidiaries of KTH … KTH would remain a wholly owned subsidiary of KCHL with KCHL still retaining full control of KTH. However, the directors of KTH would be formally appointed by the National Executive Council,’ the executive added.