Global mobile phone giant enters PNG, Solomons partnership

Bmobile Vodafone opened for business in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on July 16, days after Vodafone announced its expansion to PNG and the Solomon Islands in a non-equity arrangement with local partners. Group Facilities Manager David Pidik said a kiosk opened in Port Moresbythe would make it easier for existing and potential users of bmobile Vodafone to buy phones, top up credit and replace SIM cards. Vodafone has 434 million mobile customers in 78 markets and the new partnership has seen 3G connectivity to Wewak, which now joins Port Moresby, Lae and Nadzab, Mt. Hagen and Alotau in terms of mobile internet connectivity.

The UK-based group in early July announced it had signed an exclusive partner market agreement with Bemobile Limited, which trades as bmobile. The two operators will collaborate on the sale of a range of products and services to businesses and consumers. For bmobile, the deal means its customers will be able to roam onto Vodafone’s global network and gain access to a wider range of services as well as Vodafone best practices.

In turn, Vodafone’s multinational corporate customers will benefit from the addition of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to their existing contracts for international managed services, while continuing to be serviced via a single point of contact. “This strategic partnership with bmobile will enable us to expand our presence in Asia Pacific and extend the reach of our products and services across the region. It will also deliver enhanced roaming benefits for both our consumer and multinational corporate customers,” said Stefano Gastaut, CEO of Vodafone Partner Markets. According to the World Bank, the introduction of mobile competition in Papua New Guinea in 2007 saw a dramatic rise in the number of people who were able to afford a mobile phone for the first time. The Economist Intelligence Unit said in January that around 2.7 million of the country’s total population of 7.2 million have a mobile phone.

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