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

Executive summary

Internet penetration is low in the Solomon Islands

While mobile penetration is considered to be quite high in the Solomon Islands; internet penetration remains very low. Some rural and remote areas still lack access to mobile networks and in areas where it is available - the cost can be prohibitive. Many rural mobile base stations in the Solomon Islands also only support voice services; further inhibiting growth of mobile broadband services.

Satellite internet services have traditionally been too costly for citizens to access on a regular basis and ADSL is only available in limited locations. There are also geographic difficulties in deploying fibre-optic cables in the Solomon Islands. Remote islands are separated by large distances of open ocean, and almost all rural villages have no reliable power - if power is available at all. Around 85% of Solomon Islanders live in tiny functioning rural communities scattered across 100 populated islands.

The Solomon Islands is also vulnerable to the seasonal natural disasters including cyclones and earthquakes. Despite these significant challenges, the Solomon Islands government has acknowledged it is time to prioritise improving the telecoms sector and has outlined plans in its current National Development Strategy to do so.

In mid-2017, the Solomon Islands government formerly signed a contract to build a new subsea cable which will link Honiara to Australia (Sydney). The Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC) is in charge of the build, supported by Huawei – and it is planned to go live in early 2019.

Key telecom parameters – 2014; 2017

Sector 2014 2017
Subscribers to telecoms services: (e)
Mobile broadband subscribers 74,457 79,976
Fixed-line telephony 7,525 7,368
Mobile phone 376,000 425,000

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Key developments:

  • In 2017 internet penetration remains low despite the reasonably high penetration of mobile phones.
  • Bmobile-vodafone has been improving its backhaul cellular network in order to offer 3G data services in parts of the Solomon Islands.
  • Mobile banking allows the unbanked to transact financially and services are available to mobile broadband users in the Solomon Islands.
  • The government of the Solomon Islands has acknowledged that improving the ICT sector needs to be a priority and has address this in its current National Development Strategy.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

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

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 Historic overview
    • 5.2 Telecommunications Bill 2009
    • 5.3 Broadcasting policy
    • 5.4 Regulatory authority
      • 5.4.1 Telecommunications Commission of Solomon Islands (TCSI)
  • 6. Fixed network operator in Solomon Islands
    • 6.1 Solomon Telekom Co Ltd (Our Telecom)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure (submarine, satellite)
      • 7.2.1 Submarine cable
      • 7.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 e-Banking
    • 9.3 e-Government
    • 9.4 e-Education
  • 10. Digital media
  • 11. Mobile communications
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
    • 11.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 11.4 Regulatory issues
    • 11.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.5.1 GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G
      • 11.5.2 LTE
    • 11.6 Major mobile operators
      • 11.6.1 Breeze
      • 11.6.2 Bmobile / Vodafone
  • 12. Mobile content and applications
    • 12.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
  • 13. Mobile handsets
  • 14. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2017
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2017
  • Table 3 – Broadband statistics – 2016
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2017
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 6 – Evolution of GDP and inflation in Solomon Islands – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 8 – International bandwidth – 2004 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2004 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Mobile subscriptions and penetration rate – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 11 – Mobile broadband subscribers and user penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
  • Chart 1 - Mobile subscriptions versus mobile broadband subscriptions - 2011 - 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Our Telekom at a glance 2016
  • Exhibit 3 – Vodafone moves into the market in 2014

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