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Access to Basic Telecom Services Remains Relatively Expensive in the South Pacific Islands.

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c48415) has announced the addition of 2007 Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in the South Pacific Islands to their offering.

This report provides an overview and analysis as well as key statistics on all aspects of the South Pacific Islands market including mobile, Internet and Broadband, infrastructure, broadcasting and pay TV and the latest regulatory developments.

Islands covered include: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa , Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Penetration rates of telecom services in the South Pacific Island region remain comparatively low, although mobile and Internet penetration have gained traction is some of the more highly populated and developed islands such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Guam. Access to basic telecom services remains relatively expensive.

By the end of 2006 less than half of all Pacific Islanders had a phone and generally only had one supplier for any particular fixed, mobile or Internet service. Internet cafes and telecentres help to address the issue of low Internet penetration. To communicate outside the region, most islands are in a satellite footprint and both Fiji and Guam are connected by submarine cable.

Mobile telephony is expected to outpace growth in fixed-line connections as the market moves into 2007. New technologies are gaining ground in some island countries: 3G mobile services are expected to be launched in Fiji in 2007. Several of the South Pacific nations are upgrading satellite links to outer islands, installing wireless broadband and upgrading fixed-line broadband capability and some are rolling out high-speed ADSL2+ broadband. There is strong interest amongst South Pacific operators regarding WiMAX as a communications solution.

Market overview

* Vast distances, small markets and the lack of economies of scale mean that improvements are slow and very expensive.

* The Pacific Island Countries have three major options in terms of improving telecommunications access - satellite communications, submarine cable, and mobile wireless computing.

* There are few submarine cables in the region, therefore, satellite communications plays a critical role in both the national and international infrastructure.

* In 2006 the islands comprised a total economic market of about US$20 billion. The Pacific Islands Trade Agreement (PICTA) governs the tiny proportion of trade that is conducted between the islands themselves in the region.

* The governments of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are all opening up new service provider licences in 2007, taking away the monopoly status enjoyed by the various incumbents in all three nations.

* The Cook Islands and Palau are also expected to undergo government reviews in 2007, which could result in further competition.

* Mobile telephony is expected to outpace growth in fixed- line connections as the market moves into 2007 and 2008.

Broadband

* By the end of 2006 fixed- line broadband via ADSL, WiFi (wireless broadband via hotspots), fixed access wireless broadband and satellite broadband were available in number of countries.

* Several South Pacific nations are upgrading satellite links to outer islands, installing wireless broadband and upgrading fixed- line broadband capability with a number rolling out high- speed ADSL2+ broadband.

* There is strong interest amongst South Pacific operators regarding WiMAX as a communications solution. Operators are attracted by its relatively low- cost, simplicity and mobility upgrade path.

* Several of the South Pacific nations are upgrading satellite links to outer islands, installing wireless broadband and upgrading fixed-line broadband capability and a few are rolling out high-speed ADSL2+ broadband.

Mobile

* Mobile GSM networks have been growing in the region, with 14 islands groups connected with GSM 900/1900 networks by 2006.

* In 2006 a choice of mobile operators was available only in Tonga (two cellular networks), Guam (five networks) and North Mariana Islands (three networks), while the remaining South Pacific countries still had monopoly providers.

* In June 2006 Ericsson was contracted to design a 3G- radio access network in Fiji, and also won the contract for a new dual- access Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN).

* 3G mobile services are expected to be launched in Fiji in 2007.

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c48415
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Date:Jan 15, 2007
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