Timor Leste (East Timor) - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Growth in the Timor-Leste mobile market continues however other telco sectors remain challenged
Timor-Leste has been pressing ahead with the regeneration of its economy and the rebuilding of infrastructure. The effort to roll out telecommunications infrastructure in particular has been a key part of this. Despite the considerable energy that has been going into this rebuilding, the prevailing social and political environment continues to present major challenges to those seeking to improve the country.
The country's telecommunications sector has been expanding with the mobile telephone sector experiencing a particularly strong and sustained surge. After recording huge annual growth rates over a number of years from 2006 onwards, by 2015 the country's mobile subscriber base had increased rapidly in a short period of time and penetration had moved past the 100% mark.
Most other sectors in the telecom market in Timor Leste however remain in relatively early stages of development.
The mobile broadband subscriber base in Timor Leste has been growing strongly in term of annual growth rates however only from a very small base.
Fixed-line network expansion continues to languish, however, with fixed teledensity down around 0.3% and seemingly stuck there. Although it is difficult to get accurate figures on the internet market, it is clear that growth in this sector remained highly constricted and there is little optimism about online activity in Timor Leste in the short term. Whilst there is a limited fixed broadband service in the country, the number of subscribers for this type of access remains extremely low. The advent of mobile broadband internet access has provided a boost to the internet sector; however, again, the initial penetration figures were not as yet having a major impact on the overall market.
While the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) does provide some statistical information on this market, the information is limited. It has continued to be a difficult task to obtain official statistics for the country's telecom sector. Where official statistics are not available, BuddeComm has attempted to provide estimates.
The mobile subscriber market in Timor Leste has grown very strongly between the period of 2012 and 2015. Market penetration increased from 55% in 2012 to 117% in 2015. Market growth slowed down however in the 2015-16 period with market penetration edging up to nearly 120% by 2016 due to maturing market. Fixed line subscribers remain extremely low with penetration of only 0.25% in 2016. Fixed line penetration has not exceeded 0.3% over the past decade. The fixed broadband subscriber base in Timor Leste has grown strongly over the past five years however penetration levels remain extremely low. By 2016 the fixed broadband penetration rate was only 0.1%.