The Maldives - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation. Please review the Executive Summary and Table of Contents for more details.
The Maldives prides itself on having built one of the most advanced telecommunications systems in the region. With the country’s well-developed national network, the capital Malé is particularly well served, as are the tourist resort islands. The critical issue of connectivity to the rest of the world for its relatively small population of 350,000 has been addressed with considerable success; this has been further enhanced by the provision of a major submarine cable connection to Sri Lanka; at the same time the opportunity was taken to provide undersea links between the main atolls, thereby substantially strengthening the domestic connectivity. Efficient telecommunications services have been established to all inhabited islands by the national telco, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Pvt Ltd (Dhiraagu). Dhiraagu, a joint venture between the government (65%) and Cable & Wireless plc (35%), has played a major role in setting up the country’s infrastructure. The company, despite having been criticised in the past for its high tariff structure, has played an undeniably important role in establishing and delivering telephone services across the archipelago.
Dhiraagu was initially granted an exclusive licence to provide all telecommunications services in the country. With its licence renewal in 1995, the operator was given a more clearly stated mandate to provide telephone access to all inhabited islands by the year 2000. The Dhiraagu monopoly was officially set to run out in 2008. However, the government was moved to open up the market earlier than that. The licensing of a second ISP by the government in 2002 signalled its intention to proceed ahead of time. A second mobile licence was issued in 2004, but the new mobile operator Wataniya Telecom did not become operational until 2006. Despite the slow start, the introduction of a level of competition quickly saw the telecom market booming. By March 2009 Wataniya had more than 100,000 mobile subscribers or around one quarter of the market. At the same time the incumbent was also continuing to vigorously grow its mobile subscriber base. Mobile penetration in the Maldives had reached a remarkable 145% by March 2009.