Palau: PNCC Network Modernization Technical Assistance

The Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) invites submission of qualifications and proposal data (collectively referred to as the “Proposal”) from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to execute technical assistance to support the modernization and buildout of the national telecommunications network in the Republic of Palau (the “Project”). The Proposal submission deadline is 5:00 PM (Koror City, Palau local time)/ 4:00 a.m. EDT, August 21, 2023. The U.S. firm selected will be paid in U.S. dollars from a $870,000 grant to PNCC from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

About the Grantee
PNCC is a public corporation established in 1982 to develop a national communication system. Today, PNCC operates the largest telecommunications network in Palau and is the main communications provider serving over 41,000 subscriptions spanning mobile, fixed line service, internet, and digital TV. PNCC has a staff of 134.

Project Background
The Project entails the modernization and buildout of PNCC’s telecommunications network. With the increasing connection of households and businesses in Palau, the growth in demand for digital services has significantly increased in recent years. PNCC’s mobile network was last upgraded in 2017 and is now over capacity in the most densely populated Koror and Airai States. Network traffic demand slowed during the pandemic, but the system will be further strained with the anticipated return of tourist volume to pre-2020 levels. PNCC’s mobile network includes a 2G/3G/4G LTE core network and access network of 54 cell sites and remote facilities. PNCC’s objective is to replace all 54 existing network sites with a minimum of 4G LTE capacity, introduce 5G in urban areas, and provide an upgrade path to country-wide 5G deployment over time. PNCC is interested to assess an open architecture approach, which would include a greenfield Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) to replace its legacy platform. The proposed Project is expected to consist of three phases:

Phase 1: Replace core network and introduce a limited number of live Open RAN cell sites (the number to be determined by the technical assistance)
Phase 2: Replace access network equipment at all existing cell sites and remote facilities (up to 54 sites)
Phase 3: Expand access network with addition of cell sites (estimated 61 new sites)

About the Technical Assistance
The technical assistance will provide PNCC with the necessary data, analysis, and detailed plans for phased implementation of the Project, including replacement of its core network and 54 existing cell sites and remote facilities with secure and trusted technology. The technical assistance will also support the expansion of PNCC’s network footprint to underserved areas with the addition of an estimated 61 new cell sites and plans for future nationwide rollout of 5G services, as well as include in-depth training for PNCC staff on Open RAN technologies and operations, procurement planning, and the development of financial models to assess business impact and future investment requirements.

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Palau: PNCC Network Modernization Technical Assistance

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