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2006 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam


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

1. CAMBODIA
1.1 Key statistics
1.2 Telecommunications market
1.2.1 Overview of Cambodia’s telecom market
1.3 Regulatory environment
1.3.1 Regulatory authority
1.3.2 Opening up the market
1.4 Telecommunications infrastructure
1.4.1 National telecom network
1.4.2 International infrastructure
1.5 Internet market
1.5.1 Overview
1.5.2 Internet access locations
1.6 Mobile communications
1.6.1 Overview of Cambodia’s mobile market
1.6.2 Regulatory issues
1.6.3 Major mobile operators
1.6.4 Mobile services
1.7 Broadcasting market
1.7.1 Overview
1.7.2 Free-to-air broadcasting
1.7.3 Cable TV
2. LAOS
2.1 Key statistics
2.2 Telecommunications market
2.2.1 Overview of Laos’s telecom market
2.3 Regulatory environment
2.3.1 New Telecommunications Act
2.3.2 New master plan for telecommunications
2.4 Fixed network operators in Laos
2.4.1 Lao Telecom
2.4.2 Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao
2.4.3 Lao Asia Telecom (LAT)
2.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.5.1 National telecom network
2.5.2 International infrastructure
2.6 Internet market
2.6.1 Overview
2.6.2 ISP market
2.6.3 Public Internet access
2.6.4 Top level domain name
2.6.5 Broadband Internet
2.6.6 VoIP telephony
2.7 Mobile communications
2.7.1 Overview of Laos’s mobile market
2.7.2 Major mobile operators
2.8 Broadcasting market
2.8.1 Overview
2.8.2 Media policy
2.8.3 Development of television broadcasting
2.8.4 Free to Air (FTA)
2.8.5 Satellite TV
2.8.6 Cable TV
2.8.7 The challenges
3. MYANMAR
3.1 Key statistics
3.2 Telecommunications market
3.2.1 Overview of Myanmar’s telecom market
3.2.2 Network expansion
3.3 Regulatory environment
3.3.1 Overview
3.4 Telecommunications infrastructure
3.4.1 National infrastructure
3.4.2 International infrastructure
3.4.3 Satellite
3.5 Data market
3.6 Internet market
3.6.1 Overview
3.7 Mobile communications
3.7.1 Overview of Myanmar’s mobile market
3.7.2 Major mobile operators
3.7.3 Mobile services
3.8 Broadcasting market
3.8.1 Overview
4. THAILAND
4.1 Key statistics
4.2 Telecommunications market
4.2.1 Overview of Thailand’s telecom market
4.3 Regulatory environment
4.3.1 Regulatory overview
4.3.2 Telecommunications Act
4.3.3 Concession conversion
4.3.4 National numbering scheme
4.4 Fixed network voice services
4.4.1 Market overview
4.4.2 National networks
4.4.3 International Networks
4.4.4 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
4.5 Fixed network operators in Thailand
4.5.1 Major telecom operators by market segment
4.5.2 Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT)
4.5.3 Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT)
4.5.4 Proposed CAT/TOT merger
4.5.5 TelecomAsia/True Corp
4.5.6 Thai Telephone & Telecommunications (TT&T)
4.5.7 Loxley
4.5.8 Shin Corporation
4.5.9 United Communication Industry Group
4.5.10 Jasmine International
4.6 Telecommunications infrastructure
4.6.1 National telecom network
4.6.2 International infrastructure
4.6.3 Satellite networks
4.6.4 Submarine cable networks
4.6.5 Terrestrial cable networks
4.6.6 Telecoms and IT
4.7 Data market
4.7.1 Overview
4.7.2 Data infrastructure
4.7.3 Data services
4.8 Internet market
4.8.1 Overview
4.8.2 ISP market
4.8.3 Major ISPs
4.8.4 Thailand Internet Exchange
4.8.5 Portal services
4.8.6 Internet charges
4.8.7 Regulatory issues
4.8.8 Internet cafes
4.8.9 Content
4.9 Broadband market
4.9.1 Overview
4.9.2 ADSL
4.9.3 Cable modem
4.9.4 Internet via satellite
4.9.5 Wireless Internet
4.9.6 Major broadband operators
4.10 Content and e-services
4.10.1 E-commerce
4.10.2 E-Government
4.11 Mobile communications
4.11.1 Overview of Thailand’s mobile market
4.11.2 Mobile technologies
4.11.3 Major mobile operators
4.11.4 Mobile services
4.12 Broadcasting market
4.12.1 Overview
4.12.2 Regulatory environment
4.12.3 Free-to-air TV
4.12.4 Digital TV
4.12.5 Pay TV
4.12.6 Cable TV
4.12.7 Satellite TV
4.12.8 Interactive TV
4.12.9 IPTV
5. VIETNAM
5.1 Key statistics
5.2 Telecommunications market
5.2.1 Overview of Vietnam’s telecom market
5.2.2 Future plans
5.3 Regulatory environment
5.3.1 Background
5.3.2 Domestic fixed-line competition
5.3.3 Tariffs
5.3.4 Numbering plans
5.3.5 Interconnection
5.3.6 Foreign investment
5.3.7 Liberalisation
5.3.8 Privatisation of state-owned enterprises
5.4 Fixed network operators in Vietnam
5.4.1 Vietnam Post & Telecommunications (VNPT)
5.4.2 Saigon Postel
5.4.3 Viettel
5.4.4 Other operators
5.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
5.5.1 National telecom network
5.5.2 National infrastructure projects
5.5.3 International
5.6 Data market
5.6.1 Multi Service Digital Data Network
5.6.2 VSAT networks
5.6.3 ISDN
5.6.4 Frame relay
5.6.5 Vietpac
5.6.6 Data centres
5.6.7 Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC)
5.7 Internet market
5.7.1 Overview
5.7.2 Regulatory environment
5.7.3 Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC)
5.7.4 Internet cafés
5.7.5 ISP market
5.7.6 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
5.7.7 Satellite Internet
5.7.8 Emerging IT industry
5.8 Broadband market
5.8.1 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
5.8.2 Cable Modem
5.8.3 Wireless broadband
5.8.4 Satellite Internet
5.9 Content and e-services
5.9.1 E-commerce
5.9.2 E-government
5.10 Mobile communications
5.10.1 Overview of Vietnam’s mobile market
5.10.2 Major mobile operators
5.10.3 Mobile technologies
5.10.4 Mobile voice services
5.10.5 Mobile data services
5.10.6 Mobile applications
5.10.7 Handset market
5.11 Broadcasting market
5.11.1 Overview
5.11.2 Cable TV
5.11.3 Satellite TV
5.11.4 Film content censorship
6. GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS
Exhibit 1 - Overview of telecom service and operators - 2005
Exhibit 2 - Overview of MPT’s CDMA service
Exhibit 3 - Major operators by market segment
Exhibit 4 - Key service concessions
Exhibit 5 - National satellite network - 2006
Exhibit 6 - ISPs operated by telecom companies and ownership
Exhibit 7 - Free-to-Air Broadcasters
Exhibit 8 - UBC’s programming guide
Exhibit 9 - UBC’s major subsidiaries
Exhibit 10 - Overview of telecommunications development in Vietnam - 1993 - 2005


Table 1 - Country statistics Cambodia - 2005
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 3 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 4 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 6 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 - Fixed lines in service - 1995 - 2005
Table 8 - Internet users - 1997 - 2005
Table 9 - Internet host computers - 2000 - 2004
Table 10 - Mobile subscribers and growth by operator - 2005
Table 11 - Mobile subscribers - 1993 - 2005
Table 12 - MobiTel subscribers - 1998 - 2005
Table 13 - CamShin subscribers - 1998 - 2005
Table 14 - Casacom subscribers - 1998 - 2005
Table 15 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2005
Table 16 - Country statistics Laos - 2005
Table 17 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 18 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 19 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 20 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 21 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 22 - Fixed-line operator market share - 2005
Table 23 - Fixed lines in service - 1995 - 2005
Table 24 - Internet users - 1998 - 2005
Table 25 - Internet host computers - 2000 - 2004
Table 26 - Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator - 2005
Table 27 -Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
Table 28 - Mobile operator market share - 2005
Table 29 - Lao Telecom’s mobile subscribers and annual growth - 1995 - 2005
Table 30 - Television market summary - 2005
Table 31 - Country statistics Myanmar - 2005
Table 32 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2005
Table 33 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 34 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 35 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 36 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 37 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 38 - Fixed lines in service - 1990, 1995 - 2005
Table 39 - Internet users - 1999 - 2005
Table 40 - Internet hosts - 1998 - 2005
Table 41 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1995 - 2005
Table 42 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2005
Table 43 - Country statistics Thailand - 2005
Table 44 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 45 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 46 - Internet user statistics - 2005
Table 47 - Broadband statistics - 2005
Table 48 - Mobile statistics - 2005
Table 49 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 50 - Fixed-line services - January 2005
Table 51 - Public payphones - January 2005
Table 52 - Fixed-line growth and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
Table 53 - Public payphone market (TOT)* - 2003
Table 54 - Public payphones - January 2005
Table 55 - Number of subscribed ISDN circuits - 1994 - 2005
Table 56 - Internet users and subscribers - 1996 - 2005
Table 57 - Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
Table 58 - ADSL subscribers - 2002 - 2005
Table 59 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1998 - 2005
Table 60 - Mobile services revenue - 1998 - 2005
Table 61 - Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator - 2005
Table 62 - Mobile market share - 2005
Table 63 - Prepaid subscribers and percentage of subscriber base by operator - 2005
Table 64 - Pay TV subscribers - 1996 - 2002
Table 65 - Pay TV subscribers by platform - 2002 - 2005
Table 66 - UBC subscriber growth - 1998 - 2005
Table 67 - Country statistics Vietnam - 2005
Table 68 - Telephone network statistics - 2005
Table 69 - Internet provider statistics - 2005
Table 70 - Internet user statistics - February 2006
Table 71 - Broadband statistics - 2005
Table 72 - Mobile statistics - 2006
Table 73 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 74 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1990 - 2006
Table 75 - Internet users - 1998 - 2006
Table 76 - Internet host computers - 1996 - 2005
Table 77 - Internet subscribers - 1998 - 2006
Table 78 - Internet Service Providers by subscribers and market share - April 2005
Table 79 - ADSL subscriber growth - 2003 - 2006
Table 80 - ADSL service providers - June 2005
Table 81 - Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator - 2005
Table 82 - Mobile subscriber growth - 1995 - 2006
Table 83 - Mobile services revenue - 1993 - 2006
Table 84 - Mobifone subscriber growth - 1998 - 2006
Table 85 - Vinaphone subscriber growth - 1998 - 2006
Table 86 - S-Fone subscriber growth - 2003 - 2005
Table 87 - Viettel subscriber growth - 2004 - 2006
Table 88 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2005

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications, broadcasting and pay TV markets in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam. Subjects covered include:

Key Statistics
Market and Industry Overviews
Regulatory Environment
Major Players (fixed and mobile)
Infrastructure
Mobile Voice and Data Markets
Internet, VoIP, IPTV
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless)
Convergence and Digital Media


Continuing to overshadow the fixed-line segment of the market, Cambodia’s flourishing mobile market passed the one million subscriber milestone in late 2005 and was continuing to grow at a healthy annual rate of 25% into 2006. In the meantime, fixed-lines languished at around 40,000 subscribers. Given the booming mobile market, it is surprising to find other sectors of the market in the doldrums. Internet penetration remains particularly low, with the services on offer being notably expensive in comparison to other countries in the region. As its efforts are directed towards building up its telecommunications infrastructure, the country continues to struggle with the legacy resulting from years of civil war and instability. Ongoing political problems in the period since the end of the war have made it hard to put the necessary administrative institutions in place. This has had a major impact on the telecom sector which remains in need of serious regulatory reform and a general strengthening of the regulatory role. For a period, the absence of a properly functioning government saw all infrastructure projects involving international aid suspended and government funded projects were also constrained, with a corresponding impact on foreign investor confidence. This had a negative effect on the telecom sector.

After years of struggle to build up its economic base, Laos has finally found some good news in the form of the giant Nam Theun 2 hydro project, the Oxiana gold and copper mine at Sepon and a number of other mining ventures. The challenge now is for Laos find some economic equilibrium, allowing it to focus more attention on building its national infrastructure, including telecommunications. With a low fixed line teledensity of less than three telephones per 100 people by early 2006, the country has been looking for more foreign investment to boost the telecoms sector. The Lao Telecom joint venture formed by the government with the Thai company, Shinawatra, in 1996 was not initially a success. Lao Telecom wasted the five year period of market exclusivity and the real impact occurred when the market was opened up to competition in 2002. Foreign capital started to flow into the sector, although not as much as the government would have liked. The mobile phone market finally took off in early 2003, the number of subscribers increasing sevenfold in just 2 years. The Lao telecom sector still has many issues to address. Despite the recent rapid opening up of the market, the regulatory progress continues to lag behind market development and has the potential to derail the progress already made if reform is not speeded up.

Operating in an economy where change is very slow, Myanmar’s telecommunications sector continues to be dominated by the state-owned monopoly telephone service provider, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT). The country is battling both grave economic problems and a troubled political climate. Soaring inflation continues to be a major problem. Reaching a rate of 60% in 2002, inflation had settled back to about 25% in 2005. The country’s centrally planned economy is plagued by weak fiscal and monetary management, resulting in major economic imbalances, which will not be easily or quickly resolved. These problems, combined with an overarching lack of transparency, have naturally frightened off foreign investment. In the meantime, the country’s telecommunications is characterised by what can only be described as stunted development. The telecom sector is indicative of the overall state of the national economy. Myanmar’s official economic data is not considered reliable, making actual growth rates difficult to ascertain. However, it is reasonably evident that fixed telephone line penetration remains a lowly 1%, mobile services are prohibitively expensive and limited, and Internet access continues to be problematic, being severely restricted in its availability to the general public. The government has simply been unable to help the struggling MPT to generate any serious level of capital investment in telecoms infrastructure.

Despite some economic uncertainty and questions about the government’s progress on a range of national projects, Thailand’s telecom sector has been exhibiting a lot of energy. Over the last four or five years, the country’s mobile telephone market in particular recorded particularly strong annual growth rates. By early 2006, mobile penetration was approaching 50%. The subscriber levels reached represented an eight-fold increase since 2000. The country has certainly been seeing the benefits of a liberalised market. However, a feature of the government’s telecom reform efforts over the last five years has been a general tardiness in implementing key changes. Of special note has been the slowness in establishing the country’s new regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which finally came into being in late in 2004 - a long time after the enabling Telecommunications Act was adopted as law in 2000. Having now become operational, the NTC was concentrating on getting up to speed and was unlikely to have an immediate impact on the market in the short term. Although, there were promising signs observed about the medium term prospects. Delays have also occurred in the restructuring and ultimate privatisation of the state-owned telco giants, TOT and CAT. Whilst Internet has been popular in Thailand for some years now, broadband access had been languishing. In 2004/2005, however, the number of broadband subscribers suddenly increased more than tenfold. Broadband penetration remains low at less than five subscribers per 1,000 people.

Reflecting the self-conscious style of a centrally-planned economy, Vietnam set itself some ambitious targets for the expansion of its telecommunications infrastructure. Initial efforts to fast-track the expansion of the national network had their shortcomings. But the introduction of a limited level of competition into the telecoms market, combined with a generally improved economic climate, has seen some vigorous growth in the sector. The expectation that Vietnam will win accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2006 has also created a positive climate for the telecom sector to expand. The country’s mobile market has been especially dynamic, growing at an annual rate of more than 50%. The strong growth was likely to continue, building on the 10 million mobile subscribers (penetration 11.5%) in the country by March 2006. At the same time, the country’s fixed line subscriber base has also been continuing to expand and has passed 13 million for a teledensity of over 15%. And despite the government’s cautiousness about the Internet (and occasional news reports indicating serious problems with human rights issues), this segment of the market has been gaining a strong foothold. Internet user penetration was running at a healthy 14% by end-2005. Increased foreign investment remains the key to expansion. The continuing strong government involvement in the telecom sector, however, still raises major questions about its commitment to deregulation and liberalisation. Again, the WTO commitments will be important in this regard.

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