The best residential internet plans in PNG: 2017 Edition

September 2017 analysis of ISPs in Papua New Guinea

It’s been well over a year since I did my last analysis of internet plans and quite a few people have been visiting my site primarily for internet information. I have learnt a lot over the past year or so and wanted to present it in an easy to read format. I will list the top 4 options in order of best to not the best; then list the rest.

I will refer to all speeds in bits per second (bps) instead of Bytes per second (Bps), more on this.

1. Datec

Who are they?

Datec  is owned by Telikom, who is owned by the PNG Government. They have an office based in Waigani (map link) and use a number of cables to connect PNG to the rest of the world; explained in may article here.

How do they provide their service?

Whilst they have a fibre optic network in Port Moresby, they usually use terrestrial microwaves (satellite dishes) to connect your residence since they too don’t have a FTTN NBN. More information on their microwave technology can be found on my Datec tech article.

What are their best plans?

Their plans are not published for an unknown reason but I usually give the following out when someone asks…

Shaping during peak/business hours mean the download speed is restricted to 128Kbps and 384Kbps; in other words, unusable.

Peak is 08:00-18:00 Mon-Fri, Off Peak is everything else, including all weekend.

Unshaped speeds are consistently 6Mbps down and 1Mbps up. These speeds are more than enough for HD video calling (Skype), video streaming (YouTube/Netflix) and torrenting (no site blocking here!).

I recommend the Home Married if no one is at home during weekdays and Office if you have someone using the internet between 08:00-18:00 on weekdays. You can change your plan each month with Datec so see how you go with your data usage.

Useful information

Make sure you request your plan be capped, not open. If you consume all the data in your plan, your internet will then stop working. You need to pay your monthly fee to reset the entire plan. You will then be charged again on the day your plan usually cycles and your data will reset again, so don’t hit your cap!

There are other setup fees so don’t be fooled by the K99 fee promise, it’s about K1200 all up. You can cancel your contract whenever you like but you will lose your setup fees.

Datec have unlimited data plans but they are slow and expensive.

Uploads not counted toward plan cap.

2. Telikom

Who are they?

Telikom is owned by the PNG Government and has the cheapest mobile data plans compared to Digicel and BMobile. The fact that they use the same cables to connect to the world means that when Telikom is down, so is Datec.

How do they provide their service?

Telikom offer ADSL2 or 4G as options to connect to them. I would recommend 4G as ADSL cabling is prone to degradation without proper maintenance. You can hotspot your mobile phone or get a modem or router that can accept a SIM card; Telikom can provide this. Since Telikom use the B3 1800MHz frequency for 4G/LTE, any unlocked modem/router from Australia should work here; probably best to use the equipment they provide if you want to get reasonable tech support from them though.

What are their best plans?

As at Sept 2017

The best bundle you can get is 15GB for K250 which has a 45 day expiry. This is very close to the value for money the Datec Home Married Medium offers (40GB / 7GB * K125 = K715). However, like Digicel and BMobile you need to actively monitor your data usage to ensure you are always use a bundle.

Useful information

I have covered Telikom’s plans extensively in my Telikom article so won’t go into it too much again, read that article if you want to use Telikom for data.

Uploads counted toward data bundle use.

3. Speedcast

Who are they?

Speedcast acquired Oceanic internet at the same time Telikom acquired Datec (June 2014), a good month for telecommunication competition, not.

How do they provide their service?

Their biggest selling point is they do not use the same infrastructure that Telikom does so they boast less congestion and more reliability; they use the O3b Network satellites.

What are their best plans?

A year ago I was quoted K11,000 per month for unlimited data at 2Mbps speeds. A month ago I was quoted K1500 pm for a similar plan however my connection speed would be shared with 9 other customers (10:1 contention).

Another reader advised he was recently quoted K3800 per month for a 1Mbps connection (exact same plan a year ago was K5900 pm to give you an idea of the price drop).

On top of this there is a K6300 installation cost and a 1 or 2 year contract.

Useful information

The guys at Speedcast realise their primary customers are bigger businesses but are always willing to have a chat and try and organise a custom plan for residential customers. Get in touch with them and explain your situation if you want very reliable, fast internet and are willing to pay for it.

4. Digicel

Who are they?

A massive telecommunication company that only recently stopped using comic sans as a font for their logo. They came to PNG about 10 years ago and built an incredibly comprehensive wireless network across the country.

How do they provide their service?

They primarily use their 4G phone towers in-country and rely on a mix of undersea cables and satellites to connect their customers to the rest of the internet.

What are their best plans?

Prepaid data bundles which can be obtained using prepaid credit

As at Sept 2017

As you can see, they are almost twice the cost of Telikom. The 2 main reasons you would put up with these prices is their coverage and reliability.

Digicel Business plans are also available but are incredibly expensive

Contention means sharing. If there are 4 people on your connection you may only get 25% of the advertised speeds, you may also get 100% if no one else is using the connection when you are.

A reliable source advised me there is also an unlimited data option for K9000.

Setup costs depend on the length of contract you agree to and start at K550 for 36mths to K3500 for 12mths. You also get a Cisco 881 router for K1550.

What you are paying for here is better customer service (I assume) and higher priority bandwidth if there is an issue with the undersea cable or exchange. Similar to Speedcast, the business plans are really for people that can afford a guarantee of uninterrupted fast internet.

Useful information

Digicel have the best coverage across PNG. If you value being able to use your phone almost anywhere in the country, go with Digicel. They also don’t rely on the undersea cable network so if it gets congested or breaks, they can use their satellites and continue providing internet. If you are looking to set up home internet and you live in a major city, I’d look elsewhere.

The rest

Click Pacific

From the guys that bring you ClickTV, comes half decent sounding internet plans. I don’t have any feedback from customers so can’t vouch for their service but when I asked about their plans they were prompt and polite. They have a terrible website so probably best just emailing them for a quote.

Plans start from K250 pm for 20GB up to K3900 for unlimited data (uploads are counted toward your cap; boo!). All connections are 1Mbps through a mix of satellites and undersea cables. They will install a dish at your place for K900 and put you on a 1 year contract.

Excite PNG

These guys are new players in the ISP scene in PNG. They are currently offering unlimited plans starting at K2000 pm for 1Mbps up to K10,000 pm for 20Mbps; all 4:1 minimum contention which means you share your speed with at least 3 other households. These sort of prices are close to Speedcast level pricing which is fair since they use satellites as well. Installation costs K12,000 so make sure you are happy with the plan before you sign up!

They seem to be looking at launching a mesh like wifi system where you pay to install a network at your place then sell internet to your neighbours via tokens. The shared internet starts at around K6 for 300MB which is close to Telikom rates as long as they scale sensibly this is one to keep an eye out for.

Bmobile/Vodafone

Similar pricing to Digicel but their coverage is not as good. A lot of people like their call rates but since I only care about data I don’t rate them very highly. They are owned by Telikom so I assume use similar infrastructure.

Hitron

They have plans, they are not very good.

Global Internet

They have plans, they are terrible.

Octagon Communications

Saw an ad for them in Port Moresby, can’t find any information about internet costs on their website.

APCS

Asia Pacific Communication Specialists help DataCo and Telikom with their connectivity and have wireless repeater dishes around Moresby.

Digitec

Resell a mix of bandwidths and typically service business and governments in Moresby. Not much else on their site so might need to contact them direct.

 

Final comments

If you are a home user or business and reading this, please review your current internet plan and change if you find a cheaper deal. I did some consulting at an organisation in Boroko and with 2 phone calls cut their internet costs by over 50% and increased their speeds by 1000% simply by moving to a new company and plan. Moving to better deals increases competition and will lower the price for everyone!

Before you start complaining about an ISP in PNG “ripping off” your data, I’d suggest reading up on background updates, syncing and backups. Just because you are not watching YouTube doesn’t mean your phone/computer isn’t using data. There are plenty of routers that measure data use these days. There are also apps that can tell you how much data your phone has used.

16 responses so far.

  1. Miada K says:

    Thanks for this Sir,
    This is a fair ISP market commentary.Thanks for taking the time to compile and present such vital message in this public space.
    Keep it rolling,mate!

    A few key clarifications required though.

    Digicel has a limited 4G mobile coverge – only in Port Moresby and Lae. The rest are entirely on 2G with a good number good of their sites on 3G.
    They don’t use a mix of undersea cables and satellites but Digicel essentially leases undersea cable from Telikom.
    Their satellite capacity with OB3 is locked to long-term contracts (getting very congested now) because one can only go so far with satellite technology unlike undersea cable. They offer prohibitively expensive services just to pay for that at the expense of their customer-base in PNG.

    Telikom offers the best unlimited (no contention) business grade service on fiber cable with MPLS backbone in most of its key business locations. Take for example, their 3Mbps unlimited internet plan that sells for approximately K12,400.00 per month.

    Telikom’s 4G service is quite expansive now with 4G services over there in Bougainville, Vanimo, Madang and down to Alotau and key business centres like Lae, Goroka, Kimbe and Port Moresby

    Telikom has also upgraded their national backbone network with improved capacity and auto-rerouting MPLS technology.

    • Simon says:

      Thanks for the clarification Miada.

      Do you have any public data about the location and type of towers that all 3 mobile providers own and use? I have also had Digicel contact me about this article but also failed to provide data on this.
      If Digicel lease the undersea cables from Telikom and have access to O3b satellites, doesn’t this mean they do use a mix of both?

      In future, please make sure your comments don’t sound like advertisements or degrade your competition. I love that a Telikom employee reads and comments on my articles but I don’t have ads on my site for a reason and don’t want that to change. Please continue to simply provide information that will allow readers to make their own mind up.

  2. herbie says:

    I am in Tabubil and the internet here really sux …. Digicel is really really bad and is so erratic it’s unbelievable.
    In work we use Excite and this is as reliable and as fast as i can get in Australia … pity i can only use it when i’m in work or sat in my car at weekends so i can pick up the wifi.

    Excite is well …. exciting

  3. Philip Mago says:

    Totally agree to have more Data ICP providers in this country. Excite is exciting.But still we need to get this service to all other centres and remote areas or very far range areas from their main hub where the satellite is erected.

    Cheers
    Philip Rabaul

  4. suella tritton says:

    Hi
    thanks for your info. My partner & I are moving to PNG and will both be working during the business hours. However, we like our Netflix and streaming SBS and ABC after hours and on weekends. We also have 2 teenagers who are normally at boarding school but will be with us on holidays. They love to stream big time. Not games but netflix YouTube etc.
    Is there a package that allows lower usage during the term but able to bump up the usage on weekends and holidays (eg home for 2 weeks some holidays but 6 weeks over summer). Any other tips ie downloading before they come home to PNG??

    • Simon says:

      Netflix can be taken offline these days, I would look into that. I don’t use Netflix so can’t tell you how the region change would affect it or how long you can have videos offline for.
      YouTube have a premium version called YouTube Red. With this you can take videos offline and watch them later without an internet connection.
      Also useful is keeping an eye on what resolution YouTube is streaming at as it will always aim for the highest resolution, e.g. 1080p. This will churn through data very quickly. If you change it to something like 480p, you will use far less data and not really notice the difference on a mobile phone screen. Other streaming apps may have settings like this as well and will save you a lot of data if you don’t mind not having full HD quality.
      A premium Spotify account can also have 3 devices with offline music so you can take all your favourite playlists and albums offline in Australia. For actively managed playlists, e.g. Hot Hits Australia by Spotify, it gets updated with a few new songs every week. This means you will use data still but far less than if you were to stream Spotify.
      If you are into piracy and torrents, that is obviously an easy solution as you can bring terabytes of media with you and watch them from a hard drive, just use a VPN when in Australia.

      Datec plans can be changed monthly so you are able to upgrade to a Office plan with more data when your kids are here and then drop back to Home plan when they leave. I have never done this so I am not sure how reliable their switching is. You can also start on a high data plan and then move down if you find you are not using your monthly allowance.

  5. Wong Lee says:

    I agree with those using Excite service as they are the best ever and I’ve tested the service myself when they first visited Goroka.

    And I would say they ( Excite PNG ) are the best player in the market.

    Best Regards,

  6. The sad thing though is that Telikom provides much cheaper internet, their plans to merge Telikom, Bemobile-Vodafone and Dataco will create a monopoly which is sad infact.

  7. Heiich says:

    Try Niugini Infocom Ltd…

    • Simon says:

      K1950 for 10GB per month is a bit steep but I am interested in “High Speed local network with Terrabytes of local content”

  8. Dale says:

    This is just a thought.
    If you get a Vodafone plan here in Aus. Around $60aud for 60GB of data, you can then pay $5 per day for roaming, which will allow you to use your 60GB data.
    This may well be a cheaper and reliable way to use data?

  9. Anna says:

    Anyone heard of an ISP called Emstret Holdings?

  10. Bill says:

    I live in a community of ex-pat folks in the highlands region. Digicel and Telikom both have 4G LTE up here, not that the speeds are actually any faster…
    Recently, DataCo became the primary “back-end” wholesaler for fiber-based connections in PNG. Both Digicel and Telikom purchase their back-haul from DataCo, though I believe that Digicel has a “backup” Satellite system, can’t say for sure.

    For folks from the US, Google fi also works in PNG using a partnership with Digicel. Could be worth a look, even though it would be data-only and isn’t a PNG-native provider.

  11. Francis Tuma Deukari says:

    Digicel service both voice and data is now very unreliable.At first it was ok but lately there have Ben continuos downtime..This is bad.The other thing is data rate may have been changed to be used up very fast.I both one day data of 60mb but within seconds it was used up.I tried the night plan of 500mb one after the other 5times but the rate of usage was just very fast.It was like 500mb used within 5 minutes.I can’t believe whats been happening.Its a total rip off.If you wanna prove it ,you can talk to few people in buka.They will tell u their experience.Thanks

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