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Solomon Islands - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 29 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 60

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Telecoms in the Solomon Islands to benefit from various developments

Improvements to Internet services are expected with both the build-out of a new submarine cable known as the Coral Sea Cable System which will link PNG to the Solomon Islands, with a connecting cable to the Australian (Sydney) landing station. In addition, the planned launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in late 2019 should also improve broadband satellite capacity for the Solomon Islands.

In recent years, the country has stabilised both politically and economically – and this, along with improvements to mobile infrastructure – has led to a sharp rise in mobile penetration.

Recent 3G mobile network expansions and upgrades by the two major operators, Our Telekom (operating as Breeze) and Bmobile-Vodafone, are improving mobile services and in turn driving uptake, including an increase in mobile broadband subscriptions. While the first 4G LTE services were launched in late 2017 in the capital Honiara; it is still 3G, and in many cases 2G, which is the main source of mobile telephony.

Various international organisations such as The World Bank and Asian Development Bank have taken a special interest in seeing communication services improved in both the Solomon Islands and Pacific region in general. The Australian government is assisting by providing the majority of funding for the new submarine cable system, with contributions and support also coming from both governments from the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having 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.

Key developments:

  • Smart phone penetration should almost double between 2018-2025 in The Solomon Islands.
  • The first 4G LTE network was launched in November 2017 by Our Telekom.
  • By 2018 the percentage of mobile connections using 4G LTE services was extremely low.
  • In 2019/2020 an important telecoms development is occurring for Solomon Islands with the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies covered in this report include:

Our Telekom (Breeze); Bmobile-Vodafone; Kacific Broadband Satellite, O3b, Solomon Island Submarine Cable Company.

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