The Maldives - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
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 lass than 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 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 with deregulation 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 boom. By 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 150% by early 2010. Both operators had launched 3G services.
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 27% share of the market, the mobile market was continuing to expand, increasing at an annual rate of 20% coming into 2010;
With Wataniya having launched a Third Generation (3G) service in the Maldives in mid-2008, Dhiraagu began offering a service it labelled ‘3G Plus’in March 2010;
Mobile penetration in the Maldives reached the 150% milestone in early 2010;
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 (more than 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 2008, the country found has been continuing to confront difficult economic conditions in 2009/2010 as its all-important tourist industry felt the impact of the global financial crisis;
An overall slowing in the national economy was not surprisingly affecting the country’s telecom sector; nevertheless, despite some slowing of growth, there were many encouraging signs in the way the sector had been responding.Maldives - key telecom parameters - 2009 - 2010
Total number of subscribers49,10051,000
Fixed-line penetration (population)15%16%
Total number of subscribers19,80022,500
Internet subscriber penetration (population)6%7%
Total number of subscribers457,800500,000
Mobile penetration (population)148%160%
This report provides an overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Maldives. Subjects covered include: