Palau - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Support for a submarine cable for Palau grows

Out of necessity, and similar to other Pacific Islands nations, it is mobile services which have thrived in Palau. This is due to the difficult geographic environment which is spread across around 300 islands and is unsuitable for widespread fixed telephony infrastructure. In 2016 fixed broadband penetration sits at only around 6% while mobile penetration exceeds 110%, due to multiple mobile subscriptions.

3G services are provided in Palau over satellite with O3b Networks being a major provider. In 2016 both Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) and Palau Telecoms, which offers wireless broadband internet services, underwent capacity upgrades with O3b.

In recent times, there has been growing international scrutiny over the lack of formal telecoms regulations and a Regulatory body in Palau. This is in part due to the growing support to develop a fibre-optic submarine cable which will link to Guam. In 2016 Palau secured a loan from the Asian Development Bank to be used to connect to Guam as part of the wider SEA-US project.

Overall, Palau offers a well-developed mobile sector which has been recently boosted by satellite network capacity upgrades as well as the proposed submarine cable venture. Palau is one of the Pacific’s most successful small islands for mobile telecommunications connectivity.

Key telecom parameters – 2013; 2015

Sector 2013 2015
Approximate subscribers to telecoms services: (e)
Fixed Broadband users 1,805 1,224
Fixed-line telephony 7,263 7,204
Mobile phone 17,900 23,700

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Key developments:

  • In 2016 a formal loan agreement of up the $25 million was signed between the Asian Development Bank and the Republic of Palau for an international submarine cable project.
  • Fixed line teledensity in Paula has hovered around the 34% mark for the past few years.
  • Pre-paid plans have become very popular in Palau and account for the majority of mobile subscriptions.

Companies covered in this report include:

Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC); Palau Telecom; Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
    • 4.2 Market analysis
    • 4.3 Recent developments
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Overview
  • 6. Fixed network operator
    • 6.1 Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Satellite networks
      • 7.2.2 Submarine cable network for Palau
  • 8. Broadband access market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Palau – 2016
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2015
  • Table 3 – Broadband statistics – 2015
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2015
  • Table 5 – GDP in Paula – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 6 – Palau - fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2006 - 2015
  • Table 7 – Palau – fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2006 - 2015
  • Table 8 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2006 - 2015
  • Exhibit 1 – Historical - Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System (PacRICS)

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