Samoa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 8 Feb 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 70

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Various parties interested in acquiring Digicel’s Pacific operations

Samoa was one of the first Pacific Island countries to establish a regulatory infrastructure and to liberalise its telecom market. In 2006, it became the first in the region to see the market entrance of Digicel, which has since launched services in other Pacific nations. The advent of competition in the mobile market saw prices fall by around 50% and network coverage increase to more than 90% of the population.

LTE is developing on the back of its initial launch in 2016 by Digicel Samoa, followed by BlueSky Samoa (now Vodafone Samoa) in early 2017. Digicel Samoa completed its LTE network in September 2020.

Similar to other countries in the Pacific Islands, Samoa’s telecoms sector has been inhibited by a lack of international connectivity. While Samoa has had access to the Samoa-America-Samoa (SAS) cable laid in 2009, this cable has insufficient capacity to meet the country’s future bandwidth needs.

This issue was addressed with two new submarine cables which became available in 2018 and 2019. These, combined with the Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH), have improved internet data rates and reliability, and have reduced the high costs which were previously associated with internet access in Samoa.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is continuing to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Manatua cable certified ready for service;
  • Australian government attempts to block Chinese companies from acquiring the Pacific operations of Digicel;
  • Report includes assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies covered in this report include:

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Vodafone Samoa, Amper, Blue Sky Samoa, Digicel Samoa, Kacific Broadband Satellite, O3b.

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