Samoa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics
International connectivity crucial for Samoa's future
Two companies compete in Samoa's mobile market: BlueSky Samoa and Digicel Samoa. This has resulted in a dynamic, competitive mobile sector, with one of the highest rates of mobile phone coverage in the Pacific region. Since mobile networks were upgraded to enhanced 3G technology, the spread of mobile internet is in part filling the digital gap, but smartphones and mobile data plans are still too expensive for many Samoans, and download speeds are slow.
Besides mobile telephony, internet provision and international gateway services are also conducted in a competitive environment. However, BlueSky Samoa remains the only provider of fixed-line telephony and ADSL services. Competition in this area is difficult to achieve due to the small size of the market.
Fixed-line internet access remains severely underdeveloped, with an estimated 1% penetration, due to various factors such as expensive bandwidth, poor fixed-line infrastructure, and the general challenges faced by a small, developing, and remote market.
Although Samoa unlike most Pacific islands has an international submarine cable connection, the network has limited bandwidth and is insufficient for the country's needs. This has resulted in poor, sometimes interrupted internet access.
However, there is growing consumer awareness of ICT products and services. Social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular, particularly with the younger generation.
The key to improving telecom services in Samoa lies in resolving the issue of international connectivity. More bandwidth would increase internet speed and reduce the exorbitant price of broadband access. It would also enable VoIP to become a viable option, which in turn would reduce international call prices and allow competition in the international voice market. Options being considered include new-generation satellite solutions and submarine cables projects.