22 Apr 2008

World Bank denies claims it subsidised rival of Telikom PNG

3:18 pm on 22 April 2008

The World Bank has defended itself against allegations from Telikom PNG that it was subsidising the Papua New Guinea operations of the mobile phone operator Digicel.

Last month, the World Bank agency, the International Finance Corporation, agreed to invest 40 million US dollars to help Digicel extend mobile services.

But last week, the PNG government closed down Digicel's international gateway which the company says effectively means it cannot operate.

The World Bank's Sydney-based regional director, Nigel Roberts, says the investment in Digicel was strictly commercial.

He says the introduction of competition benefits PNG's citizens, with costs dropping and a four-fold increase in coverage.