The Malta - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts 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.
Since 2003 Malta’s telecom regulator, the MCA, has successfully lifted market restrictions which had previously held back effective market competition. By 2009, the country enjoyed one of the most competitive and vibrant telecom sectors in Europe.
The mobile market’s control by the duopoly of Vodafone and GO Mobile came to an end with the launch of Melita Mobile in February 2009. Vodafone was the first operator to upgrade its network to HSDPA, quadrupling speeds for customers. When GO Mobile also launched HSPA, both operators reduced data tariffs to make services more affordable to a wider range of users. Melita followed in February 2009, claiming to be the first mobile operator in the world to integrate HSPA into a cable platform, adding mobile broadband to its TV, Internet and fixed telephony offerings. The operator also introduced substantially cheaper prices than its two competitors. Together, these offerings will provide a solid technological foundation for the developing mobile data market in coming years.
Broadband penetration remains comparatively low by European standards, though broadband speeds are relatively fast: about 95% of subscribers have 2Mb/s connections compared to 75% in the EU. Malta enjoys effective cross-platform competition, with 52% of broadband connections being through Melita’s cable network, 46% through GO’s DSL network, and the remaining 2% through Vodafone’s WiMAX national network - itself the first of its kind in Europe. Mobile broadband has also emerged as a strong contender in coming years, with three competing HSPA services.
Malta’s telecom market since 2007 has also been characterised by a drive to create converged services, as seen in the takeover by GO of the DTTV operator Multiplus, the acquisition by Melita Cable of a controlling share in the third licensed 3G operator, and the launch by Vodafone of its WiMAX and fixed line services. By February 2009 GO and Melita both offered quad play services, while Vodafone had successfully moved into the triple play arena.
Malta - Key telecom parameters - 2004; 2008
Total subscribers (thousand)206239
Fixed-line penetration (population)51%57%
Broadband penetration (population)9%24%
Total subscribers (thousand)306386
Mobile penetration (population)76%94%
Malta’s telecom sector revenue increased 7.4% in 2008, bucking the trend across Europe for slow or stagnant growth. The island’s small size benefits from having a population concentrated in a few towns, resulting in a high population density enabling national coverage with relatively limited resources.
With mobile, DSL and cable networks having undergone the bulk of planned upgrades, operators will focus their attention on developing improved convergent services. The Maltese enjoy the competitive benefits of two quad play operators, complemented by a triple play service from one of Europe’s largest providers. By mid-2009 over 7% of the population subscribed to bundled offers.
Malta’s digital TV sector has kept up with developments in Europe. GO’s pay-TV platform by July 2009 had been extended to all parts of the island and surrounding coastal areas.Vodafone deployed its first WiMAX network in Malta in 2007, providing broadband and VoIP services. This network was complemented in June 2009 when GO switched on its nationwide 3.5GHz frequency band WiMAX network, augmenting its HSDPA coverage. The number of WiMAX subscribers increased by more than 200% in 2008.