Samoa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Samoa’s mobile broadband internet users grow sharply

Samoa has experienced a sharp increase in Internet users in recent years - while in contrast fixed lines have declined. Internet user penetration has reached over 30% and the majority of users are accessing services via mobile broadband. Between 2015 and 2016, the teledensity of mobile broadband subscriptions increased from around 10% to nearly 27%.

In 2017 mobile broadband services are improving for Samoan’s with both the previous launch of a 4G LTE services by Digicel Samoa in 2016 – as well as an LTE-A network by Bluesky Samoa in 2017. 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.

Samoa is beginning to address its international capacity issues with a major public-private project underway. Facilitated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and the Samoan government, it will see high-speed telecom improvements in Samoa via a fibre optic submarine cable which will connect Samoa (Upolu and Savai’i) with the Southern Cross Cable Network in Fiji (Suva). The Tui Samoa cable, as it known, will be co-financed by the ADB, the WB, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as well as the Samoa Submarine Cable Company (SSCC) which also incorporates other smaller investors. The project is expected to cost around US$49 million and should be available by the end of 2017.

The consensus is that a mix of technologies will be used to service the Pacific region in general going forward, including mobile, satellite as well as fibre-optic submarine cables, and that a coordinated planning approach at the regional level is essential for network resilience, performance, value for money, and extent of coverage.

Key telecom parameters – 2013; 2016

Sector 2013 2016
Subscribers to telecoms services: (e)
Fixed Broadband users 1,238 2,392
Fixed-line telephony 8,332 7,192
Mobile phone 99,887 134,619

Key developments:

  • Samoa has one of the highest levels of mobile phone coverage in the Pacific region. Samoa has over 100% mobile penetration (including multi-SIM ownership) and almost full mobile network coverage based on a mix of 2G and 3G technologies.
  • Digicel Samoa is the mobile market leader. Its network covers the entire coastal areas of the country, which is home to about 95% of the population.
  • In 2016 Digicel Samoa launched a 4G LTE network in Samoa.
  • In 2017 BlueSky Samoa launched its LTE-A services in Samoa.
  • There are various submarine cables being planned to serve Samoa which should boost its international capacity and ability to offer better Internet services.
  • Singapore start-up Kacific Broadband Satellite is developing a broadband offering for the Pacific region and in 2016 private investors from the US and Australia had contributed around US$22.3 million to the project collectively.
  • In May 2016 Digicel Pacific announced it would be working with O3b to upgrade its capacity in Papua New Guinea as well as conduct smaller upgrades for Samoa and Nauru.

Companies covered in this report include:

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Amper SA, Blue Sky Samoa, Computer Services Limited (CSL), 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 budget 2017/2018
  • 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
  • 6. Fixed network operator in Samoa
    • 6.1 BlueSky Samoa
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 National telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine cables
      • 7.2.2 Satellite broadband
  • 8. Smart infrastructure
  • 9. FIXED broadband market
    • 9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
  • 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 Brief intro analogue networks
    • 13.2 Digital networks
      • 13.2.1 3G
      • 13.2.2 4G LTE
      • 13.2.3 4G LTE-A
    • 13.3 Major mobile operators
      • 13.3.1 Digicel Samoa Ltd
      • 13.3.2 BlueSky Samoa (formerly SamoaTel)
  • 14. Mobile content and applications
    • 14.1 m-banking (payments)
  • 15. Mobile handsets
  • 16. Related reports
  • Table 1 - Country statistics – 2016
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
  • Table 3 – Broadband statistics – 2016
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2016
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 6 – Evolution of GDP in Samoa – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Internet users and user penetration rate – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 9 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Historic mobile subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2007
  • Table 11 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Mobile broadband subscriptions – 2013 - 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – BlueSky Samoa at a glance
  • Exhibit 2 – The start of the internet in Samoa

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