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Laos - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband & Forecasts


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

The Laos - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband & Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.


Executive summary

There was no hiding the fact that Laos has had to struggle for years with a poorly performing economy and a commercial environment that was in desperate need of reform. However, in the 2006/07 period there was a noticeable shift in the outlook for the country with positive news being reported on many fronts. Most importantly, a significant number of hydro-electric power projects and mining ventures have become or are close to a reality, with many more possible projects in the pipeline. Laos is at last moving forward in a confident fashion. It is also moving forward in its efforts to strengthen its telecommunications infrastructure, to attract more foreign investment into the sector and to introduce the latest telecom technologies.

As attention turned to building the country’s infrastructure, by early 2009 fixed-line teledensity stood at less than two telephones per 100 people, with virtually no growth; however, the mobile market has been surging in a sustained fashion, especially since 2004/05. Coming into 2009, mobile penetration was around 32% with an annual growth rate running at 25%. Internet services are lagging badly, this being a major concern in terms of the overall social and economic development of the country.

While more foreign investment is needed to boost the telecom sector, the government must also be judicious in selecting and licensing new operators to ensure that it gets the best value out of the investment. The joint venture formed by the government with Thai company Shinawatra in 1996 let the five year period of market exclusivity granted to Lao Telecom pass without any serious attention to infrastructure building. When the market was opened up to competition in 2002, foreign capital finally started to flow. The mobile phone market took off in early 2003, with the number of subscribers increasing sevenfold in the two years following. The Lao telecom sector still has many issues to address. The rate of regulatory reform continues to lag well behind industry development and has the potential to derail the progress already made if the reform is not speeded up.

Key highlights:

  • The mobile market in Laos continued on its positive expansion path in 2008, with annual growth of 30% for the year; growth was continuing at a similar pace into 2009;
  • With 32% mobile penetration, the mobile market had reached the two million subscriber milestone by April 2009;
  • The government having licensed 6 mobile operators, competition was heating up by 2008/09, putting considerable downward pressure on ARPU;
  • The launch of Lao Telecom’s 3G service in July 2008 was an important move for the local telecom sector, although the subscriber sign up rate to March 32009 remained only modest;
  • The sluggish development of Internet services continues to be a problem for the both the local telecom industry in particular and the country in general, especially given how crucial online access is to national growth.Laos - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009
  • Category20082009 (e)
Fixed-line services:
  • Total number of subscribers298,000102,000
  • Annual growth4%4%
  • Fixed-line penetration (population)1.6%1.6%
  • Fixed-line penetration (household)8%8%
Internet:
  • Total number of subscribers110,00011,000
  • Annual growth10%10%
  • Internet subscriber penetration (population)0.4%0.4%
  • Internet subscriber penetration (household)2%2%
Mobile services:
  • Total number of subscribers1.9 million2.2 million
  • Annual growth31%15%
  • Mobile penetration (population)30%34% (Source: BuddeComm)
Notes:
  • 1Estimates for both 2008 and 2009.
  • 2These figures do not include Wireless Local Loop subscribers.
This report provides an overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Laos.

Subjects covered include:
  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Major Operators (Mobile and Fixed)
  • Regulatory Environment;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Mobile Market;Internet Market, including Broadband.

  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    • Table Laos - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics Laos - 2009
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2009
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2009
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2009
    • Table National telecommunications authority
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • Lao-US relations
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF TELECOM MARKET IN LAOS
      • International assistance
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT 2001
    • NATIONAL AUTHORITY FOR POST AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS (NAPT)
    • MASTER PLAN FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN LAOS
    • Table Fixed-line operators' subscribers and market share - 2008
    • LAO TELECOM
    • ENTERPRISE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAO (ETL)
    • STAR TELECOM (FORMERLY LAO ASIA TELECOM (LAT))
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Table Fixed lines in service - 1995 - 2011
      • Table WLL (fixed) subscribers - 2004 - 2009
      • Rural Telecom Project
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Terrestrial cable links
      • Asian Development Bank Backbone Telecommunications Network
      • Proposed satellite system
  • INTERNET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Internet statistics
        • Table Internet users - 1998 - 2010
        • Table Internet subscribers - 1999 - 2010
    • ISP MARKET
    • PUBLIC INTERNET ACCESS
    • TOP LEVEL DOMAIN NAME
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Broadband subscribers - 2002 - 2010
      • Table Overview of broadband/household subscribers - 2009
      • Table Broadband subscribers by access type - 2008
      • Table ISPs: broadband Internet subscribers and access types - 2008
    • WORLDWIDE INTEROPERABILITY FOR MICROWAVE ACCESS (WIMAX)
    • VOIP TELEPHONY
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF MOBILE MARKET IN LAOS
      • Table Mobile subscribers and annual change - 1995 - 2011
      • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
      • Table Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - March 2009
      • Table Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers by operator - 2008
      • Table Mobile services sector estimated ARPU - 1998 - 2008
    • THIRD GENERATION (3G) MOBILE SERVICES
      • Table 3G mobile subscribers and annual change - 2008 - 2009
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Lao Telecommunications Company
        • Table Lao Telecom's mobile subscribers and annual change - 1995 - 2009
      • Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao (ETL)
      • Tigo (Millicom)
      • Star Telecom (formerly Lao Asia Telecom (LAT))
      • Sky Telecom
  • LAOS' BROADCASTING MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2008
  • FORECASTS
    • SCENARIO FORECASTS
      • Table Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates - 2007 - 2008; 2013; 2018
      • Table Forecast Internet subscribers - 2007 - 2008; 2013; 2018
    • FORECASTS - MOBILE SERVICES 2007 - 2008; 2013; 2018
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers - 2007 - 2008; 2013; 2018
    • NOTES ON SCENARIO FORECASTS

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