Introduction

The Pacific Islands Mobile Economy report has been produced to complement the Asia Pacific Mobile Economy series. This report is a first and specifically excludes Australia and New Zealand in order to highlight the very different and challenging demands that this region faces. The mobile industry in the Pacific Islands has grown rapidly over recent years but with subscriber growth set to slow, there is a need to examine where collaborative action could support expansion of communication services, especially mobile broadband.

Contents

Chapter 1 - The mobile industry in the Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands covers a wide geographic area with a large number of small islands and comprises mostly of developing economies. Connectivity at present is delivered through a combination of mobile, satellite, undersea cables and fixed networks, and these technologies will continue to serve as the backbone of communications in the region in the future. However, the geographic and physical limitation of fixed networks and the relative expense of satellite connectivity means mobile has the best opportunity to drive connectivity and internet access throughout the Pacific Islands.

 

Chapter 2 - Contribution to economic and social development in the Pacific Islands

Mobile has had a profound impact on national economies worldwide and increasingly ubiquitous and higher speed mobile networks contribute to many positive aspects of economic, political and social life in both developed and developing regions. Mobile is the predominant infrastructure in many emerging markets and is often available to a larger proportion of the population than many other basic services. In 2014, mobile technology made a huge and central contribution to the economy of the Pacific Islands. The total was US$1.8 billion in value added terms, a contribution of approximately 4.7% of the region’s GDP based on analysis from the direct contribution of mobile operators and the rest of the mobile ecosystem; the indirect impact on the broader economy and the increase in productivity brought about by the use of mobile technologies.

Chapter 3 – Policy: Supportive and collaborative action

Mobile has already made an important contribution to growth and development across the Pacific Islands, but has the potential to do much more. Realising the full transformative potential of the mobile industry in the region will require increased collaboration between all players in the region. This includes cooperation between the mobile operators and other ecosystem players; as well as collaboration with governments, regulators and other industry stakeholders. Underpinning that collaboration is the agreement to and adoption of a long term broadband plan – it has been noted that the introduction or adoption of a broadband plan can lead to 2.5% higher fixed broadband penetration, and 7.4% higher mobile broadband penetration, on average.