Bhutan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Bhutan’s mobile broadband market gains strong momentum

Previously Bhutan had been isolated from the rest of the world for a long time, both generally, and particularly in terms of its telecommunications. Its mountainous landscape made it especially difficult to build the necessary telecoms infrastructure.

Fixed broadband penetration remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform. Over the next five years to 2023 low to moderate growth is expected from this small base.

The mobile market in Bhutan has grown moderately over the past few years however the growth rate has subsided over the past few years as the mobile market begins to mature.

B-Mobile is the leading mobile operator in Bhutan. TashiCell is its only market competitor, and has been bridging the gap over the past few years.

The mobile networks have provided a major boost to internet access in the country, largely on the back of EDGE/GPRS, 3G and more recently 4G platforms are now gaining traction in Bhutan with both major mobile operators offering 4G services. Slower and declining growth is predicted to continue over the next five years to 2023 as the mobile subscriber market further matures.

Bhutan’s mobile broadband has grown sharply over the past five years from a small base driven by a mature mobile market. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 but at a declining rate due to a maturing market. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they further roll out their 4G networks.

Key developments:

  • Bhutan’s telecom sector has been continuing on a steady development path.
  • TashiCell has been bridging the gap over the past few years in the mobile market.
  • The mobile market in Bhutan has grown moderately over the past few years.
  • Mobile broadband has seen strong growth and this is expected to continue at a slower rate.
  • 4G LTE networks have now gained strong raction in Bhutan.

Companies mentioned in this report

Bhutan Telecom, B-Mobile, DrukNet, Samden Tech, Tashi InfoComm, TashiCell, Ericsson, Reliance, Airtel.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1 Background
    • 3.2 Economy
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
    • 4.2 Regional Asian Market Comparison
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Bhutan Telecommunications Act 1999
    • 5.2 Bhutan Information Communications and Media (BICM) Act 2006
    • 5.3 BICMA legislation
    • 5.4 Licensing
    • 5.5 Telecommunications Numbering Plan
    • 5.6 Cable TV
  • 6. Fixed Network Operators
    • 6.1 Bhutan Telecom
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
      • 7.1.1 Background
      • 7.1.2 Bhutan Telecom’s infrastructure roll-out
      • 7.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
      • 7.1.4 Fibre networks
      • 7.1.5 Universal Service Fund (USF)
      • 7.1.6 Remote communities and Rural communications programs
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Overview
      • 7.2.2 Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs)
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Background
    • 8.2 Broadband statistics and Forecast
    • 8.3 Fixed Broadband Service Providers
      • 8.3.1 Introduction
      • 8.3.2 DrukNet
      • 8.3.3 Samden Tech
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 Mobile Statistics and Forecast
    • 9.3 Mobile broadband Statistics and Forecast
  • 10. Mobile infrastructure
    • 10.1 3G
    • 10.2 4G LTE
  • 11. Major mobile operators
    • 11.1 Operator Statistics
    • 11.2 B-Mobile
    • 11.3 Tashi InfoComm (Tashicell)
  • 12. Digital economy
    • 12.1 Introduction
    • 12.2 e-Banking
    • 12.3 e-Government
    • 12.4 e-Education
  • 13. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
  • Table 3 – Key Metrics - Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) - 2018 - 2023
  • Table 4 – Fixed Lines, Penetration and Annual Growth – 2007 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Historic - fixed lines in service and Penetration – 1995 - 2005
  • Table 6 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
  • Table 7 - Internet Users, Penetration and Annual Growth (with forecast) - 2007 - 2019
  • Table 8 - Historic - Internet users and penetration rate - 1999 – 2006
  • Table 9 – Historic - Dial-up internet subscribers – 2001 – 2008; 2010 - 2014
  • Table 10 – Broadband / Internet subscribers by access (fixed and wireless)– 2008; 2012 - 2017
  • Table 11 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 12 – Lit/Equipped International Bandwidth Capacity – 2015 - 2018
  • Table 13 – ADSL Broadband Subscribers by Service Provider – 2017
  • Table 14 – Leased-Line Broadband Services by Service Provider – 2017
  • Table 15 – Broadband, Leased Line and Mobile Broadband by Service Provider – 2016
  • Table 16 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2023
  • Table 17 - Historic - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2003 – 2009
  • Table 18 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2010 - 2023
  • Table 19 – Mobile operators and systems
  • Table 20 – Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2018
  • Table 21 – 3G Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2017
  • Table 22 – 4G Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2017
  • Table 23 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2016
  • Table 24 – Historic - Mobile subscribers by operator – 2014
  • Table 25 – B-Mobile’s subscribers – 2003 - 2018
  • Table 26 – B-Mobile’s 3G subscribers – 2008 - 2017
  • Table 27 – TashiCell mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2018
  • Chart 1 – Mobile, Mobile Broadband & Fixed Broadband Penetration – 2018; 2023
  • Chart 2 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index by Market Category
  • Chart 3 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
  • Chart 4 –Telecoms Maturity Index – Central Asia
  • Chart 5 - – Fixed Lines and Penetration – 2007 - 2018
  • Chart 6 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
  • Chart 7 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
  • Chart 8 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2010 - 2023
  • Exhibit 1 – Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 2 – Central Asia -Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 3 – Level of competition by market segment
  • Exhibit 4 – Licences issued by service category

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Technologies

Broadband Fixed
Internet
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 41

Status Current

Last updated 20 Aug 2018
Update History

Analyst: Phil Harpur

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