Cook Islands - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

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Last updated: 20 Aug 2014 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 16

Analyst: Lucia Bibolini

Executive summary

Competition to reach the Cook Islands, but Spark/Telecom New Zealand pulls out

BuddeComm’s report Cook Islands - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications market of the Cook Islands, including industry and operator data updates and estimates through to 2014.


With its small, declining population spread over a wide area of ocean, the mainstay of the Cook Islands’ telecom market is tourism. Although the Cook Islands shares with other Pacific islands the difficulties associated with having a small, remote market, its per capita income is much higher because of its ties to New Zealand, and customers expect a high level of telecom services.

Telecom monopoly

Telecom Cook Islands (TCI) is the only telecom operator, providing fixed line telephony, broadband, and mobile voice and data services for residential and business customers. TCI is owned 60% by Spark New Zealand (previously Telecom New Zealand) and 40% by the Cook Islands Government.

Proposed sale of Telecom Cook Islands

Spark New Zealand is looking to sell its 60% interest in TCI. The company is in the process of choosing a buyer out of three applicants: Irish-owned Digicel with operations in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and two Cook Islands consortiums, one led by KukiCel and backed by Hong-Kong based Distacom, and one led by Baudinet and backed by Samoan telco BlueSky.


Competition legislation in the Cook Islands has traditionally been problematical due to the country’s narrow economic base. Discussions on liberalising the telecom market have been ongoing since 2006, but negotiations between the government and Spark New Zealand have not been easy. However, a new Telecommunications Bill opening up the market is waiting to be submitted to parliament.

Key telecom parameters – 2011 - 2013

Sector 2011 2012 2013
Subscribers to telecoms services:
Fixed-line telephony 7,100 7,500 7,800
Mobile telephony 8,500 10,000 11,000

(Source: BuddeComm)

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Market highlights:

  • Under the new telecom bill, a Telecommunications Commissioner will promote sustainable and efficient competition in the Cook Islands;
  • Despite its small market, Telecom Cook Islands (TCI) makes profits of around $6 million a year;
  • Digicel has offered $23 million to Spark New Zealand for a 60% stake in TCI;
  • TCI has launched the world’s first broadband service using O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, with greatly reduced latency compared to standard satellites.
  • TCI has launched an HSPA network in Rarotonga.

This report provides an overview of trends and developments in the Cook Islands’ telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Facts, figures, and statistics;
  • Telecommunications policies and regulatory issues;
  • Major player (fixed, mobile, and broadband);
  • Fixed-line market and infrastructure;
  • Internet and broadband market;
  • Mobile market.

Lucia Bibolini

August 2014

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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