ASTCA expects to switch on 4G this month

8 Aug 2019

The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (ASTCA) expects to have its long-awaited LTE network up and running before the end of August. The launch target was disclosed by CEO Lewis Wolman in a House of Representatives hearing. As per Mr Wolman’s statement, the islands of Tutuila and Manu’a will benefit from the new service, with the telco also installing new cell towers in villages with poor reception, such as Masefau, Masausi, Poloa and Fagalii.

TeleGeography notes that this rollout represents the second attempt by ASTCA to deploy 4G. The telco acquired extra 1900MHz spectrum in 2011, with a view to launching LTE, but failed to fulfil its rollout obligations. In August 2017 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed that it had allowed ASTCA additional time to deploy its 4G network, acknowledging that the isolated location, lack of industry-specific suppliers and unpredictable mainland delivery options compounded the challenges in meeting construction requirements. ASTCA was ordered to deploy 4G networks covering 80% of the population by March 2018, but the subsequent lack of rollout activity meant that the relevant concessions were revoked in April 2018.

It is unclear which spectrum band the telco is using for its new rollout.