Publication Date: December 2023
Report Pages: 90
Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo
The small land-locked Kingdom of Bhutan has only recently emerged from decades of isolation from the modern world. That, and its mountainous terrain, left the country far back in the field in terms of teledensity as well as access to the Internet.
Over the last decade, however, the country has undergone a significant transformation due to the opening of its borders, liberalisation of its telecom sector, and the active support from the government towards increased competition in the mobile, broadband, and ISP segments.
A lack of investment in fixed-line infrastructure over the years by the national (state-owned) telco Bhutan Telecom means that fixed-line telephony and fixed broadband penetration will forever stay low (estimated to be 3.0% and 0.4%, respectively, in 2021). But the relatively widespread availability of the mobile platform has caused an explosion in mobile broadband subscriber numbers, growing from zero to over 100% penetration in just ten years (between 2010 and 2019). The onset of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 caused the subscription rate to drop back a little – even though Bhutan has successfully managed to keep its case numbers and mortality very low. Growth is projected to return in 2022 (along with the broader mobile market) as the overall economy recovers; the government opens up more to foreign investment, trade, and tourism; and network expansion continues – the recent (December 2021) launch of 5G services by both of the country’s mobile operators being particularly noteworthy.
This report includes the regulator's market data to September 2021, telcos' financial and operating data updates to September 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, and other recent market developments.
Bhutan Telecom, Tashi InfoComm, B-Mobile, Tashi Cell, DrukNet.
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