Find Telecommunication expertise in Kiribati

Kiribati’s telecommunications and internet sector is developing despite many inherent infrastructural difficulties. Reforms have been put in place by the government, but Kiribati remains one of the most isolated countries in the world in terms of coverage. The nation is made up of 33 coral atolls spread over 3.5 million sq km of ocean, making it difficult to connect the islands together. However, the telecoms and internet sector accounts for about 6.64% of Kiribati’s GDP according to the most recent figureavailable (EconStats, 2001).

The sole service provider is Telecommunication Services Kiribati Ltd (TSKL), which runs on South Tarawa, Kiritimati (Christmas Island) and is planned to expand to some outer islands in the immediate future. This provider is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Communication, Travel and Tourism. As TSKL is the only operator, it employs all 152 workers for the industry.  As of September 2013, the government opened up Kiribati’s telecommunications and internet sector to competition from private investors.

The industry is supported by government and regulatory involvement. The Telecommunications and ICT Development Project, which is partly funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments (through the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility) is currently underway. It will bring connectivity to the remote outer islands, and improve already existing services on the capital island, South Tarawa over the next decade. It has four components: ICT policy and legal support; ICT regulatory support; outer islands connectivity; and project management.

Other regulating bodies include the Communications Commission of Kiribati (CCK), formerly known as the Telecommunication Authority of Kiribati (TAK). This body will act in accord with the 2012 Communications Act which aims to further increase telecoms services. The CCK also runs an amateur course in ICT which costs AU$70, and advertises numerous job postings. This government-run organisation acts within the 2012-15 Kiribati Development Plan.

These reforms have made inroads into the underdeveloped ICT sector, which until the introduction of 3G mobile, only operated satellite broadband connection. The logistical problem in connecting all 33 islands has made it difficult to sustain a successful infrastructure system, with no submarine cables put in place as of 2013.

In addition, the services provided are too expensive for many people at present prices. It costs about US$4 to make a call to the Outer Islands, $10 to Australia, and a 512 kbps internet connection will cost $500 a month with a $400 set-up fee. In context, average wages in Kiribati are about $5 per day (WorldBank, 2012). These prices should fall dramatically as the reforms put in place by the government start to pay dividends over the next decade or so.

Telecoms and Internet Service Providers organisations in Kiribati
National Library and Archives
Telecom Services Kiribati Limited