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Maldives-Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband-Statistics and Analyses

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Maldives incumbent Dhiraagu completes fixed network upgrade project

Revenue from the telecom market in the Maldives is limited by the small population, of about 348,000 living on many islands across the archipelago of over 1,000 islands, of which around 200 are inhabited. Nevertheless, the market has developed strongly in recent years, attracting international investment including the Qatar-based Ooredoo Group. By March 2016 the mobile subscriber base had passed 760,000 and mobile penetration had exceeded 215%. Much of this penetration is due to the popular adoption of multiple SMI cards, as also to the tourist sector wherein visitors to the islands get a SIM card for the duration of their stay. In addition a large number of expatriate workers require SIM cards on a semi-temporary basis

The two licensed operators, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun (Dhiraagu) and Ooredoo Maldives, have both invested in HSPA and LTE infrastructure, providing extensive coverage and furnishing the growth in the adoption of mobile broadband. Both operators also provide fixed-line services: in May 2016 Ooredoo Maldives launched fixed-line broadband and telephony services only six months after securing an operating license.

The country has given priority to telecom infrastructure upgrades, with considerable success. There is a well-developed national network, though investment has been concentrated in the capital Mal as well as in the tourist resort islands. The submarine cable connection to Sri Lanka improved international bandwidth and helped reduce access pricing for end-users. A second submarine cable linked the archipelago to India in 2006. Additional cables linking the main atolls has substantially strengthened domestic connectivity. This will be augmented by a new inter-island cable network contracted by Ooredoo Maldives. Dubbed the National Submarine Cable Project, the 1,200km nationwide system is aimed at supporting traffic demand arising from increased use of mobile broadband and fibre. The cable is expected to lit by the end of 2016

Efficient telecommunications services have been established to all inhabited islands by the national telco, Dhiraagu. Despite having been criticised in the early stages of development for its high tariff structure (while it operated as a monopoly provider) the company has played an undeniably important role in building networks and delivering telephone services across the archipelago. Dhiraagu's shareholding was opened to public investment in late 2011 when an IPO saw the government sell off some of its stake. In a somewhat surprising move, Bahrain's Batelco subsequently acquired the whole of C&W Communications' 52% stake in Dhiraagu.

A second mobile licence was issued in due course, with the new operator Wataniya Telecom becoming operational in 2006. Wataniya was acquired by Qatar-based Ooredoo Group and rebranded Ooredoo Maldives in 2013.

Despite a slow start to the opening up of the market, the introduction of competition quickly saw a boom in the country's telecom sector, especially the mobile segment where Ooredoo has secured a 45% share of the market. Dhiraagu has responded by investing in mobile infrastructure, improving the quality of services and extending its product range. Operators have shifted their attention to HSPA and LTE. By August Dhiraagu provided LTE to about 58% of the population.

Key developments:

Dhiraagu completes upgrade of the fixed broadband network in Mal; Ooredoo and Huawei Marine partner to build a 1,200km nationwide submarine cable connecting islands and atolls; Ooredoo Maldives claiming a 45% share of the mobile market; mobile penetration passes 215%; both mobile operators extend reach of LTE networks; Ooredoo Maldives awarded the country's third ISP licence, enters the fixed-line market; mobile broadband subscribers reach 236,000 by March 2016; report update includes the regulator's market data to March 2016, operator data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Dhiraagu, Wataniya, Ooredoo Maldives, Focus Infocom, Thuraya, Cable & Wireless Communications.


Table Of Content


1. Executive summary

2. Key statistics

3. Country overview

4. Telecommunications market

4.1 Historical overview

5. Regulatory environment

5.1 Regulatory authority

5.2 Telecommunications plans

5.3 Telecom sector liberalisation

5.4 Telecommunications Regulation 2003

5.5 Tariffs

6. Fixed network operators

7. Telecommunications infrastructure

7.1.1 Domestic satellite service

7.2 International infrastructure

7.2.1 Satellite networks

7.2.2 Submarine cable networks

8. Fixed-line broadband market

8.1 Government Network of the Maldives (GNM)

8.2 Broadband statistics

8.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies

8.3.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks

8.3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks

8.3.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks

8.3.4 Other fixed broadband services

8.3.5 Satellite internet

9. Digital media

9.1 Introduction

10. Mobile market

10.1 Market analysis

10.2 Mobile statistics

10.3 Regulatory issues

10.3.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

10.4 Mobile broadband

10.5 Mobile infrastructure

10.5.1 Digital networks

10.6 Major mobile operators

10.6.1 Dhiraagu (DhiMobile)

10.6.2 Ooredoo Maldives (formerly Wataniya Telecom)

11. Related reports

List Of Figure

Chart 1-Fixed lines in service and teledensity-2006 2017

Chart 2-Internet users-2005 2017

Chart 3-Mobile subscribers-2006-2017

List Of Table

Table 1 Country statistics Maldives 2016

Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2016 (Mar)

Table 3 Internet user statistics 2016 (Jun)

Table 4 Broadband statistics 2016 (Mar)

Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016 (Mar)

Table 6 National telecommunications authorities

Table 7 Maldives' GDP real growth rate 2006-2017

Table 8 Dhiraagu financial data 2014-2016

Table 9 Historical-Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1995-2009

Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2006-2017

Table 11 Fixed-line subscribers by region Mar 2016

Table 12 Historical-Internet users 1996-2009

Table 13 Internet users 2010-2017

Table 14 International internet bandwidth 1999-2015

Table 15 Fixed broadband subscribers 2002-2017

Table 16 Cable modem subscribers 2005-2016

Table 17 DSL subscribers 2002-2016

Table 18 FttP) subscribers 2009-2016

Table 19 Historical-Mobile subscribers 1998-2009

Table 20 Mobile subscribers 2006-2017

Table 21 Postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers 2012-2016

Table 22 Mobile operators and service launch, subscribers and annual change

Table 23 Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010-2017

Table 24 Dhiraagu mobile subscribers 1998-2015

Table 25 Ooredoo Maldives mobile subscribers 2006-2015

Table 26 Ooredoo Maldives financial data 2011-2015

Table 27 Ooredoo Maldives mobile ARPU 2011-2016

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paul budde communication, buddecomm, telecomunications research, country profile, Broadband Fixed, Internet, Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure), Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets), Telecoms Infrastructure, Asia, Maldives