Samoa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive Summary

International capacity developments to benefit the telecoms sector in Samoa

Samoa was one of the first Pacific Island countries to establish a regulatory infrastructure and 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.

4G LTE is developing on the back of its initial launch in 2016 by Digicel Samoa, followed by BlueSky Samoa in early 2017. Digicel Samoa is considered to be the mobile market leader with its network covering the entire coastal areas of the country, which is home to about 95% of the population.

Similar to other countries in the Pacific Islands, Samoa’s telecoms sector has been inhibited by a lack international connectivity. While Samoa has had access to the Samoa-America-Samoa (SAS) cable established in 2009; it is now recognised that this ageing cable will not meet the future bandwidth needs of Samoa.

This issue is being addressed with two new submarine cables becoming available during 2018 and 2019. These, combined with the Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH), will improve speed, reliability and reduce the high costs which have previously been associated with Internet Access for Samoa.

Key developments:

  • In early 2018 Cyclone Gita hit the South Pacific region causing widespread damage to Samoa and other islands nations. Essential communication services were quickly restored and repaired by the operators.
  • 4G services arrived in Samoa in 2016 when it was launched by Digicel, followed by BlueSky in early 2017.
  • Smartphones and mobile data plans are still too expensive for the vast majority of Samoans, and download speeds are substantially slower than those found in developed countries.
  • The acquisition of Bluesky Samoa by Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) is expected to be finalised in due course, with formal approval for the sale given approval by the Office of the Regulator in Samoa in July 2017.

Companies covered in this report include:

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

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 Financial budgets
      • 4.3.1 2017/2018
      • 4.3.2 2018/2019
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historic overview
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
      • 5.2.1 Office of the Regulator (OOTR)
    • 5.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.4 Privatisation of SamoaTel Ltd
    • 5.5 Spectrum management
    • 5.6 Access
  • 6. Fixed network operator in Samoa
    • 6.1 BlueSky Samoa
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 National telecom network
      • 7.1.1 Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH)
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine cables
      • 7.2.2 Satellite broadband
  • 8. Smart infrastructure
  • 9. Fixed broadband market
    • 9.1 Historical overview
    • 9.2 Market analysis
  • 10. Digital economy
    • 10.1 Introduction
    • 10.2 e-Government
    • 10.3 e-Health
  • 11. Digital media
    • 11.1 On line gaming and gambling
    • 11.2 Newspaper and book publishers
  • 12. Mobile communications
    • 12.1 Market analysis
    • 12.2 Mobile statistics
    • 12.3 Mobile broadband statistics
  • 13. Mobile infrastructure
    • 13.1 Digital networks
      • 13.1.1 3G
      • 13.1.2 4G LTE
      • 13.1.3 4G LTE-A
    • 13.2 Major mobile operators
      • 13.2.1 Digicel Samoa Ltd
      • 13.2.2 BlueSky Samoa (formerly SamoaTel)
  • 14. Mobile content and applications
    • 14.1 m-banking (payments)
  • 15. Mobile handsets
  • 16. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities- Samoa – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Samoa – 2011 - 2018
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 4 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2018
  • Table 6 – Historic mobile subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2007
  • Table 7 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 8 – Mobile broadband subscriptions – 2013 - 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – BlueSky Samoa at a glance
  • Exhibit 2 – Regulations guiding International Connectivity in Samoa
  • Exhibit 3 – The start of the internet in Samoa

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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