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2006 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications, broadcasting and pay TV markets in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Subjects covered include:

Key Statistics
Market Overview
Regulatory Environment
Major Players
Infrastructure
Fixed network Services
Public Data
Internet
Broadband
Content and E-services
Mobile and Mobile Data


Afghanistan As the political and social rebuilding of Afghanistan proceeds following years of war and civil unrest, the country has started putting a new national telecommunications infrastructure in place. The 2001 war destroyed a telecommunications network already suffering serious disrepair due to neglect by the Taliban. The nation’s network of telephone lines was left barely functioning. With telecommunications set to play a crucial role in rebuilding the country’s shattered economy and society, a properly functioning basic telephone network was always a priority. An important step was the creation of the Ministry of Communications (MoC) by the Transitional Government in early 2002. The challenge has been to attract and manage foreign investment in the country. There have been some positive signs in this regard.

In 2003, the second GSM mobile service in the country was launched, while another two mobile licences were issued in September 2005. By end-2005, the mobile subscriber base had reached about one million. In the meantime, the government, in a push to develop the fixed-line network, launched what it called the Local Fixed Service Provider (LFSP) program. This program was expected to see hundreds of small-scale investors set up companies at the village or provincial level using Wireless Local Loop (WLL) technology.

Bangladesh ranks among the most densely populated countries on the globe, but its fixed-line teledensity remains the lowest in South Asia. With teledensity at less than 1%, only a relatively small proportion of the population had access to any telecom facility. Almost 99% of homes lacked a telephone and there was a four year waiting list for fixed-line services. The overall situation has been improved to some extent by a rapidly expanding mobile market. But after a number of years of strong growth, mobile penetration was still only a little over 5% at end-2005.

The establishment in 2001 of a new regulator, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), signalled the start of a new push to reshape the country’s telecom sector. The government can be expected to continue to vigorously pursue the de-regulation process. Expanding the national telecom infrastructure remains a priority. A critical factor is that Bangladesh has some of the most underdeveloped telecommunications infrastructure in the world. Given its 150 million population, the country has limited capacity to support telecom services on any scale. About 80% of the telephone lines are in Bangladesh’s four main cities, while 80% of the population lives in some 86,000 rural villages. By end-2005, Bangladesh had close to one million fixed-line telephones, mostly provided by the state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) and just over 7.5 million mobile phone subscribers with service provided by six private operators.

The Maldives with its relatively small population of 300,000, could rightly claim an efficient, up to date national telecommunications system, despite it being spread of a large archipelago of islands. Dhiraagu, the country’s monopoly telco, has invested considerable effort to ensure that there is now full and effective telephone service covering the whole country. As well as operating the fixed-line network, the company also operates a mobile service and is an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Dhiraagu’s monopoly was officially set to run out in 2008, but the government was keen to open up the market earlier than that and this was starting to happen progressively. The licensing of a second ISP in 2002 signalled that the government was already moving on its plans to open up the market ahead of time. Dhiraagu has responded by increasing its product range and improving its customer service. Then, in 2004, a second mobile licence was issued, again resulting in the incumbent moving quickly and aggressively to increase its presence in that sector of the market.

Pakistan After a period in which the country slowly transitioned from a regulated state-owned monopoly to a comparatively deregulated competitive structure, Pakistan’s telecom sector had finally begun moving and looked set for an era of phenomenal growth. Fixed-line penetration stood at a low 4% (5.9 million lines) in early 2006, with plenty of room for further expansion. The government is continuing to pursue its targeted national teledensity of 7% (around 10 million lines) by 2010. To achieve this target, around 1 million additional lines need to be installed every year. In the meantime, Pakistan’s mobile sector, which had started to grow strongly over the last few years, continued its rapid expansion. After growing by almost 170% in 2005, the mobile subscriber base had reached 22 million (14% penetration) in early 2006.

The government’s reform plans were being progressively implemented and this is certainly starting to have some impact on the market. The country’s four mobile operators have been joined by two new operators - Warid Telecom and Telenor Pakistan - following a decision by the government to issue two additional mobile licences. By end-2005, after less than 12 months operation, Telenor had 1,870,000 subscribers and Warid Telecom claimed 2,070,000. An important aspect of reforming the telecom sector was the privatisation of PTCL (Pakistan Telecom). In June 2005, the UAE operator, Etisalat, submitted the highest bid of US$2.6 billion for a 26% stake in PTCL. Despite lodging the winning bid, the acquisition took a further six months to complete after a dispute over payment terms arose almost jeopardising the sale.

Sri Lanka has been demonstrating considerable determination in its efforts to develop the country, this despite its ongoing political problems. With a modern progressive telecommunications sector high on the list, the sector looks to be well positioned for vigorous growth. The country’s fixed-line teledensity was approaching 6% and mobile penetration was over 17% in early 2006, with annual growth of the mobile sector running in excess of 50%. The strong growth looks very much like it was set to continue. There are a range of major initiatives being put in place that are set to give a boost to the building of national infrastructure and open the market to even more competition. Sri Lanka Telecom progressively losing its monopoly on a range of services has led the way as the market is made more interesting for new players. It is well recognised by the government that for economic well-being the country needs the ready availability of Internet, e-finance, e-commerce and all the other communications facilities products that play an important role in global commercial activity.

1. AFGHANISTAN
1.1 Key statistics
1.2 Telecommunications market
1.2.1 Overview
1.3 Regulatory environment
1.4 Fixed network operators in Afghanistan
1.4.1 Afghan Wireless Communications Co (AWCC)
1.4.2 Afghan Telecom
1.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
1.5.1 Overview
1.5.2 Infrastructure projects
1.6 Internet market
1.6.1 Market overview
1.6.2 Internet cafes
1.6.3 Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
1.6.4 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
1.7 Mobile communications
1.7.1 Market Overview
1.7.2 Mobile operators
1.7.3 New mobile licences
1.7.4 Satellite mobile
1.8 Broadcasting market
1.8.1 Overview
1.8.2 National broadcaster
1.8.3 Badakhshan TV
1.8.4 Herat TV
1.8.5 Satellite TV
1.8.6 Afghan TV
1.8.7 Cable TV
1.8.8 Radio Free Afghanistan
1.8.9 Voice of Afghanistan
2. BANGLADESH
2.1 Key statistics
2.2 Telecommunications market
2.2.1 Overview
2.3 Regulatory environment
2.3.1 Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC)
2.3.2 Telecommunications Law
2.3.3 The National Telecommunications Policy of 1998 (NTP-98)
2.3.4 Telecommunications Act 2001
2.3.5 The Communications Convergence Bill 2001
2.3.6 Privatisation and liberalisation
2.3.7 Tariffs
2.3.8 Regulatory developments
2.4 Fixed network operators in Bangladesh
2.4.1 Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board
2.4.2 Bangladesh Rural Telecommunications Authority (BRTA)
2.4.3 Sheba Telecom
2.4.4 WorldTel
2.4.5 Basundhara Communications Network Limited (BCNL)
2.4.6 Other licensees
2.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.5.1 National telecom network
2.5.2 International infrastructure
2.6 Data market
2.6.1 Data infrastructure and services
2.7 Internet market
2.7.1 Overview
2.7.2 MediNet
2.7.3 Village Computer and Internet Program
2.7.4 ISP market
2.7.5 IT development strategy
2.7.6 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
2.8 Broadband market
2.8.1 Broadband services
2.8.2 Internet via satellite
2.9 Content and e-services
2.9.1 E-commerce
2.10 Mobile communications
2.10.1 Market overview
2.10.2 Interconnection issues
2.10.3 Mobile operators
2.10.4 Mobile services
2.11 Broadcasting market
2.11.1 Overview
2.11.2 Free to air broadcasting
2.11.3 Cable and satellite TV
3. MALDIVES
3.1 Key statistics
3.2 Telecommunications market
3.2.1 Overview
3.3 Regulatory environment
3.3.1 The regulator
3.3.2 Master Plan for Telecommunications
3.3.3 Liberalisation
3.3.4 Telecommunications Regulation 2003
3.3.5 Tariffs
3.4 Telecommunications infrastructure
3.4.1 Domestic
3.4.2 International
3.5 Fixed network voice services
3.6 Data market
3.6.1 Maldives Government Network
3.7 Internet market
3.7.1 Overview market
3.7.2 Liberalisation
3.8 Mobile communications
3.8.1 Market overview
3.8.2 Second mobile licence
3.9 Broadcasting market
4. PAKISTAN
4.1 Key statistics
4.2 Telecommunications market
4.2.1 Overview
4.2.2 Earthquake - October 2005
4.3 Regulatory environment
4.3.1 Overview
4.3.2 Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT)
4.3.3 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
4.3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
4.3.5 Privatisation of PTCL
4.3.6 National numbering scheme
4.3.7 Number portability
4.3.8 Universal Service Obligation (USO)
4.3.9 ‘Grey market’ traffic
4.4 Fixed Network Operators in Pakistan
4.4.1 Major fixed-line players
4.5 Fixed network voice services
4.5.1 International voice traffic
4.5.2 International prepaid calling card services
4.5.3 Value-added voice services
4.6 Telecommunications infrastructure
4.6.1 National telecom network
4.6.2 International infrastructure
4.6.3 Submarine cable networks
4.6.4 Infrastructure developments
4.7 Data market
4.7.1 Data infrastructure
4.7.2 Data services
4.8 Internet market
4.8.1 Overview
4.8.2 ISP market
4.9 Broadband market
4.9.1 Cable modems
4.9.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
4.9.3 Internet via satellite
4.10 E-services
4.10.1 E-commerce
4.10.2 E-government
4.11 Mobile communications
4.11.1 Market overview
4.11.2 Competitive market
4.11.3 Single access number
4.11.4 Calling Party Pays
4.11.5 Major mobile operators
4.11.6 Mobile services
4.11.7 Satellite mobile
4.12 Broadcasting market
4.12.1 Market overview
4.12.2 Regulatory issues
4.12.3 Free-to-air broadcasting
4.12.4 Pay TV
4.12.5 Cable TV
5. SRI LANKA
5.1 Key statistics
5.2 Telecommunications market
5.2.1 Overview
5.2.2 Tsunami disaster
5.3 Regulatory environment
5.3.1 Deregulation
5.3.2 Privatisation
5.3.3 Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC)
5.3.4 The National Policy on Telecommunications 1998
5.3.5 National Telecommunications Policy 2001-2005
5.3.6 Calling Party Pays
5.4 Fixed Network Operators in Sri Lanka
5.4.1 Overview of operators
5.4.2 Sri Lanka Telecom
5.4.3 Suntel
5.4.4 Lanka Bell
5.4.5 Lanka Internet & Tritel services
5.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
5.5.1 National telecom network
5.5.2 International infrastructure
5.5.3 Telecom City Project
5.6 Data market
5.6.1 Overview
5.6.2 Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
5.7 Internet market
5.7.1 Overview of the Internet in Sri Lanka
5.7.2 Internet exchange
5.7.3 Public Internet access
5.7.4 Data Centres
5.7.5 ISP market
5.7.6 E-commerce
5.8 Broadband market
5.8.1 Market overview
5.8.2 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
5.9 Mobile communications
5.9.1 Overview of Sri Lanka’s mobile market
5.9.2 Major mobile operators
5.9.3 Third Generation (3G) mobile
5.9.4 Satellite mobile
5.10 Broadcasting market
5.10.1 Market overview
5.10.2 Regulatory environment
5.10.3 Free to air TV
5.10.4 Cable and pay TV
6. GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS
Exhibit 1 - Internet Service Providers licences - 2005
Exhibit 2 - Mobile operators in Bangladesh- March 2006
Exhibit 3 - Long Distance International (LDI) licensees - 2005
Exhibit 4 - Local Loop (LL) licensees - 2005
Exhibit 5 - PTCL subsidiary companies
Exhibit 6 - Joint ventures and affiliated companies
Exhibit 7 - Telecommunications system operator licensees
Exhibit 8 - External Gateway Operator (EGO) licenses


Table 1 - Mobile subscriber growth - 2003 - 2006
Table 2 - Country statistics Afghanistan - 2005
Table 3 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 4 - Internet statistics - 2005
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 6 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 - Fixed-line subscriber growth and teledensity - 1994 - 2005
Table 8 - Distribution of telephone lines - 2002
Table 9 - Fixed lines installed - 2002 - 2005
Table 10 - Mobile subscriber growth and annual growth - 2002 - 2005
Table 11 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2004
Table 12 - Country statistics Bangladesh - 2005
Table 13 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 14 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 15 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 16 - Mobile statistics - September 2005
Table 17 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 18 - Fixed telephone line targets and teledensity - 2010; 2025
Table 19 - Fixed-line growth and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
Table 20 - Internet users and ISPs - 1996 - 2005
Table 21 - Internet host computers - 2001 - 2004
Table 22 - Mobile subscribers by operator - September 2005
Table 23 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1996 - 2006
Table 24 - Market share by operator - September 2005
Table 25 - Pacific Bangladesh subscribers - 1999 - 2005
Table 26 - GrameenPhone subscribers - 1998 - 2005
Table 27 - Sheba Telecom subscribers - 2002 - 2005
Table 28 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2005
Table 29 - Cable TV subscribers - 2002 - 2005
Table 30 - Country statistics Maldives - 2005
Table 31 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 32 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 33 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 34 - Broadband statistics - 2004
Table 35 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 36 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 37 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
Table 38 - Fixed-line subscribers - 2004
Table 39 - Internet users - 1996 - 2005
Table 40 - Internet host computers - 1996 - 2005
Table 41 - Internet access - 2004
Table 42 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1998 - 2005
Table 43 - Post-paid and prepaid - 2004
Table 44 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2004
Table 45 - Country statistics Pakistan - 2005
Table 46 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 47 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 48 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 49 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 50 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 51 - ‘Fixed’ licences issued by PTA - March 2005
Table 52 - Growth in Public Call Offices - 1999 - 2005
Table 53 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1991 - 2005
Table 54 - WLL operator market share - 2005
Table 55 - Internet users - 1995 - 2005
Table 56 - Internet host computers - 1995 - 2005
Table 57 - Mobile subscribers by operator - 2005
Table 58 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1995 - 2005
Table 59 - Mobile operator market share - 2001 - 2005
Table 60 - Mobile services revenue - 1998 - 2005
Table 61 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2004*
Table 62 - Cable TV licence categories
Table 63 - Country statistics Sri Lanka - 2005
Table 64 - Telephone network statistics - September 2005
Table 65 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 66 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 67 - Mobile statistics - September 2005
Table 68 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 69 - National network status - September 2005
Table 70 - SLT subscribers - 1999 - 2005
Table 71 - Suntel subscribers - 1999 - 2005
Table 72 - Lanka Bell subscribers - 1999 - 2005
Table 73 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
Table 74 - WLL subscribers - 1996 - 2005
Table 75 - Internet users - 1996 - 2005
Table 76 - Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2005
Table 77 - Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
Table 78 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1995 - 2005
Table 79 - Mobile subscribers by operator including annual growth - 2004
Table 80 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2005

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