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Tonga - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 53

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Satellite communications to be improved for Tonga’s rural areas

The rural areas of Tonga were to benefit from a 15-year agreement between Kacific Broadband Satellite and the Tongan government which would see additional bandwidth made available for around 89 remote communities and offer speeds similar to the large towns of Tonga. Satellite technology in particular is in widespread use across Tonga and plays an important part in giving the more remote areas access to communications services.

Tonga is also reaping the benefits of being connected to an undersea high-speed fibre-optic cable. The cable was installed in 2013 and links Tonga to Fiji and onto Sydney. It was financed by a combination of funding from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Tongan government and Tonga Cable - as part of the wider Pacific Regional Connectivity Program.

This high-speed Internet access is providing Tonga with the ability to provide better health care services, reliable and faster connections for education and appropriate infrastructure for emerging e-commerce initiatives.

Tonga is also heavily reliant on mobile technology. It has exhibited a strong mobile subscription growth in recent years.

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:

  • At the end of 2018 a new 4G LTE network went live in Tonga.
  • Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC) reported a profit in 2017/2018.
  • In 2019/2020 an important telecoms development is occurring for Tonga with the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite.
  • Report includes assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies covered in this report include:

Tonga Communications Corporation (TCC); Tonga Digicel (formerly TonFon); Tonga Cable; Kacific Broadband Satellite; Asian Development Bank; The World Bank.

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