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Maldives - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband


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

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.


Executive summary

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.

Key highlights:

  • The Maldives has continued to benefit from its newly competitive market, with overall service improving greatly since the arrival of Wataniya Telecom.
  • With Wataniya quickly grabbing a 26% share of the mobile market, the total market was expanding at an annual rate of 40% coming into 2009.
  • Wataniya launched a 3G service in the Maldives in April 2008.
  • Mobile penetration was approaching 150% in early 2009. With the incumbent Dhiraagu also continuing to promote fixed-line services, fixed subscriber numbers have continued to move steadily upwards.
  • With a healthy proportion of broadband subscribers (around 90% of the total Internet subscribers), Internet take up continued to expand; but Internet subscriber penetration was still below 5% coming into 2009.
  • Having moved dramatically to a more democratic system of government with elections in October 2008, the country found itself facing serious economic problems in 2009 as its all-important tourist industry started to suffer in the wake of the global financial crisis.
It was yet to be seen what impact this would have on the telecom sector.Maldives - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009

Category20082009 (e)
Fixed-line services:

Total number of subscribers146,90058,000
Annual growth42%24%
Fixed-line penetration (population)15%18%
Internet:

Total number of subscribers117,90024,000
Annual growth44%34%
Internet subscriber penetration (population)5%7%
Mobile services:

Total number of subscribers400,600500,000
Annual growth40%20%
Mobile penetration (population)116%143%
(Source: BuddeComm)
Note: 1Estimates for both 2008 and 2009.

This report provides an overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Maldives. 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 Maldives - key telecom parameters - 2008 - 2009
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics Maldives - 2009
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2009
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2009
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2009
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2009
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF MALDIVES' TELECOM MARKET
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS PLANS
    • LIBERALISATION
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGULATION 2003
    • TARIFFS
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2011
      • Table Fixed-line subscribers by region - 2009
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Satellite networks
      • Submarine cable networks
  • INTERNET MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Internet statistics
        • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2011
        • Table Internet subscribers - 1998 - 2011
        • Table Internet subscribers by access type - 2009
    • COMPETITION
    • GOVERNMENT NETWORK OF THE MALDIVES (GNM)
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Broadband Internet subscribers - 2002 - 2009
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF MALDIVES' MOBILE MARKET
      • Table Mobile subscribers - 1998 - 2011
      • Table Postpaid and prepaid subscribers - 2009
      • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
    • DHIRAAGU (DHIMOBILE)
    • WATANIYA TELECOM
  • BROADCASTING
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2008

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