Tuvalu is an island nation in the South Pacific in the middle of nowhere. Tuvalu comprises of small islands scattered over 500,000 square miles approx. midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its land area of only 26 sq km is making Tuvalu to one of the smallest countries in the world. It got independence from the UK in 1978. Total population of Tuvalu is around 10,000 with half of the population residing on the main atoll of Funafuti.
There is only one operator:
- Tuvalu Telecom Corporation (TTC)
Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) is the government-owned and sole provider of telecommunication services. While it holds the monopoly in Tuvalu since 1994; in 2012 an amendment to the Telecommunications Act paved the way to license a second operator in the future.
Tuvalu was one of the last countries in the world to start 3G on the main island of Funafuti only. 3G which feels more like 2G is on 900 MHz. For reasonable internet connections rather think of buying WiFi vouchers instead of a SIM card.
For internet the islands rely solely on satellite communications. For all inter-island and international connectivity there was in 2016 only 21.8 Mbps from NSS9 Satellite by Speedcast and Intelsat and 58 Mbps from ABS (Asia Broadcast Satellite). In 2015 ABS and TTC announced they had signed a contract to improve capacity and offer higher speed internet for schools, hospitals and banks as well increased IP backhaul capacity for the mobile network.
Furthermore TTC signed an agreement with Kacific Broadband Satellites for the supply of high speed bandwidth to the islands of Tuvalu. The service will be provided by the Kacific Ka band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) that is scheduled to be launched in 2017. Kacific will provide TTC with increasing levels of capacity over the period, starting with 80 Mbps and up to 150 Mbps after 4 years.
In 2018 first 4G/LTE services were introduced to Tuvalu via a partnership between the TTC and US-based provider Blue Arcus Technologies, initially deployed in the capital Funafuti.
Having assisted Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation (TTC) in launching LTE on the main island Funafuti in March 2018, Blue Arcus says its 4G/Wi-Fi solutions have now improved internet and voice services throughout Tuvalu. Blue Arcus provided infrastructure alongside ‘training support, bundled billing system and full ownership of network uptime for TTC’, leading to ‘a faster network, better digital experience, increase in mobile broadband revenues with application-based charging, bundled content & apps, family & shared plans and many other innovative use cases'.
TTC is a state-owned enterprise and currently the only operator in Tuvalu. TTC provides fixed line telephone communications and internet services on each island of Tuvalu, and mobile phone services on Funafuti, Vaitupu, Nukulaelae, Nanumea and Niutao.
It remains to be seen whether 4G/LTE makes sense, as long as no fast uplinks are available.
Tuvalu Telecom Corporation (TTC) Edit
The state-owned Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation (TTC) is the only telecommunication provider on the islands. It provides fixed line communications to subscribers on each island and mobile phone services on Funafuti, Vaitupu and Nukulaelae. In 2015 it had about 4000 mobile subscribers and about 44 working as staff.
Mobile Network Edit
TTC launched a new 3G mobile system in 2014, but only in the capital of Funafuti. Their deteriorating 2G/GSM was decommissioned in 2015 due to capacity and coverage problems. TTC's 3G mobile system is only one site with two sector antennas installed in the sole existing tower in Funafuti. Each sector can only handle a maximum of 30 simultaneous calls and 16 data sessions. It operates in the 900 MHz band. Data traffic is routed over their ABS satellite link, while voice is passed through Speedcast satellite link.
In April 2018 TTC has launched commercial 4G/LTE services. The 4G/LTE network, which is thought to operate in the 850 MHz band (B5) has been deployed mainly in the capital
You can buy a SIM card in the main office of Tuvalu Telecom near the police station, it's just 20 meters from Funafuti International Airport. Opening hours are 9am-3pm on weekdays, 10am-1pm on Saturdays and 2pm to 5pm on Sundays. SIM card costs AU$ 10.00 with AU$ 5.00 credit on it. There are 3G and 4G SIM cards. Note that in 2018 4G/LTE SIM cards couldn't be used on iOS devices as Apple hasn't released an approval to TTC.
3G and partly 4G/LTE is now available over the island, but internet speed can be quite slow. That's why it's recommended to check speeds first on location.
To recharge your account just buy a scratch voucher and dial *211*<voucher_code>#. To check balance dial *767# or dial 767 and you will get SMS in return.
Data feature packages Edit
Default pay as you go rate is of AU$ 0.05 per MB. These packages are offered:
|250 MB||15 days||AU$ 5|
|700 MB||15 days||AU$ 10|
|1 GB||30 days||AU$ 20|
|2.5 GB||30 days||AU$ 50|
|5 GB||30 days||AU$ 100|
|12 GB||30 days||AU$ 200|
|18 GB||30 days||AU$ 300|
|32 GB||30 days||AU$ 500|
|60 GB||30 days||AU$ 750|
For recharge and other services text 'HELP' to 123.
More Info Edit
- APN, username and password: ttc
- dial 010 or 012 for customer service 8am-5pm or 20016 5pm-8am
- Website (often buggy): https://tuvalutelecom.tv/
WiFi hotspots Edit
There is WiFi as an alternative. TTC provides broadband access through WIFI hotspots in Funafuti. Their WIFI network deploys 5 hotspots and 7 repeaters distributed along the island. They dedicate 3 Mbps for WIFI access (with 2 Mbps in download and 1 Mbps upload).
You can buy a WiFi voucher in the Tuvalu Telecom office. The speed is good for video calls and for sending images and much faster than their mobile network.
- AU$ 5 for 100 MB
- AU$ 10 for 250 MB
- AU$ 20 for 600 MB
TTC WiFi is available in some places on the main island only, e.g in Funafuti Lagoon Hotel.
To connect, find WiFi with "Superwifi" in the title and connect. Open website http://184.108.40.206/24online/webpages/client.jsp and enter your username and password from voucher(very important! username and password all letters are lowercase).