Samoa Telecommunications 

In terms of access to basic telecommunications services, Samoa is well positioned. Mobile phone and internet services are already available throughout the country. There are more than 110,000 mobile phone customers and a further 15,000 landline connections. Competition and private sector involvement in the telecommunications sector has been a strong force driving these developments, with Digicel entering the market as the second mobile service operator in 2006 and the privatisation of SamoaTel in early 2011.

Quality of internet access is mixed. There is strong competition in the ISP (Internet Service Provider) market and fixed line and wireless broadband services are widely available in the Apia urban area. In 2009, Samoa connected to the American Samoa-Hawaii (ASH) undersea cable. This significantly increased internet speed and bandwidth (the volume of internet traffic that the connection can handle), but the cost of internet access has remained high, in part because of the small subscriber base (around 3,000 connections and estimated 15,000 users). In rural areas, internet access is available but not at broadband speeds. A fibre-optic backbone ring around Upolu and covering part of Savai’i is already in place, but in many areas, the final broadband link to schools, homes and businesses is not yet connected. Internet traffic is currently doubling about every 2 years, but this growth rate is expected to accelerate as mobile phone-based internet applications become available.

Telephone Services

Is there an existing landline telephone network?

(Yes / No)

Yes

 

Does it allow international calls?

(Yes / No)

Yes

 

On average, number and length of downtime periods

n/a

Mobile phone providers (List)

n/a

Estimated availability and coverage

(Approximate percentage of national coverage)

n/a

Telecommunication Regulation

Regulatory functions such as licensing and frequency management are the responsibilities of the Office of the Regulator (OoTR).

The Office of the Regulator was established in 2006 under the Telecommunications Act 2005 to provide regulatory services for the telecommunications sector in Samoa. However, the Broadcasting and Postal Services Acts 2010 were recently approved by Parliament, which also provide regulatory framework for broadcasting and postal sectors in Samoa. These Acts require the Regulator to establish a fair, unbiased and ethical regime for implementing the objects of these Acts including licensing of telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services, promotion of new services and investment, consumer protection, prevention of anti-competitive activities by service providers, and management of the radio spectrum and national number plans.


Regulations

Regulations on usage or import of:

Yes / No

Regulating Authority

Satellite

Yes

OoTR

HF Radio

Yes

OoTR

UHF/VHF/HF radio: handheld, base and mobile

Yes

OoTR

UHF/VHF repeaters

Yes

OoTR

GPS

Yes

OoTR

VSAT

Yes

OoTR

Individual Network Operator Licenses Required

  •  n/a

Frequency Licenses Required

  • n/a 

Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems

Existing UN Telecommunication Systems

Organisations 

UNDP

WFP

Red Cross

Police

DMO

Fire Division

VHF frequencies

n/a

 

n/a

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

HF frequencies

n/a

n/a

n/a

Yes

n/a

Yes

Repeaters

(Locations)

n/a

n/a

Yes

n/a

n/a

Yes

VSAT

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a