Samoa - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
International capacity developments to benefit the telecoms sector in Samoa
Samoa was one of the first Pacific Island countries to establish a regulatory infrastructure and liberalise its telecom market. In 2006, it became the first in the region to see the market entrance of Digicel, which has since launched services in other Pacific nations. The advent of competition in the mobile market saw prices fall by around 50% and network coverage increase to more than 90% of the population.
4G LTE is developing on the back of its initial launch in 2016 by Digicel Samoa, followed by BlueSky Samoa in early 2017. Digicel Samoa is considered to be the mobile market leader with its network covering the entire coastal areas of the country, which is home to about 95% of the population.
Similar to other countries in the Pacific Islands, Samoa's telecoms sector has been inhibited by a lack international connectivity. While Samoa has had access to the Samoa-America-Samoa (SAS) cable established in 2009; it is now recognised that this ageing cable will not meet the future bandwidth needs of Samoa.
This issue is being addressed with two new submarine cables becoming available during 2018 and 2019. These, combined with the Samoa National Broadband Highway (SNBH), will improve speed, reliability and reduce the high costs which have previously been associated with Internet Access for Samoa.
In early 2018 Cyclone Gita hit the South Pacific region causing widespread damage to Samoa and other islands nations. Essential communication services were quickly restored and repaired by the operators.
4G services arrived in Samoa in 2016 when it was launched by Digicel, followed by BlueSky in early 2017.
Smartphones and mobile data plans are still too expensive for the vast majority of Samoans, and download speeds are substantially slower than those found in developed countries.
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.
Companies covered in this report include:
Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Amper SA, Blue Sky Samoa, Digicel Samoa, Kacific Broadband Satellite, O3b.