Laos - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

The Laos telecoms market finally gains some momentum

The telecom sector in Laos still has numerous issues to address. For a number of years, the rate of regulatory reform has been well behind wider industry development. However, Laos has started to make significant progress in strengthening of its telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, it attracted more foreign investment into the sector and quickly saw the introduction of the latest telecom technologies.

The Laos economy continues to perform well. In the last decade there certainly has been a noticeable shift in the economic and social outlook for Laos. Most importantly, a significant number of hydro-electric power projects and mining ventures have become a reality, with even more possible projects in the pipeline.

The provision of fixed internet services has been slow, this being a major concern in terms of the overall social and economic development of the country.

Fixed broadband penetration in Laos remains limited in scale and nature and extremely low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines as well as the dominance of the mobile platform. Over the next five years to 2023 growth is expected to continue but overall market penetration will remain extremely low.

The country’s mobile sector has been going through a difficult period. Whilst subscriber growth had picked up to some extent after the market had gone backwards for a while, the mobile operators are now operating in an environment where the regulator is keeping a tight hold on pricing and open competition is in effect discouraged.

In contrast there has been the rapid expansion of mobile broadband internet services on the back of the large-scale launch of 4G services by the mobile operators. Laos has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years, however the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development and penetration remains relatively low compared to other Asian nations. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.

Key developments:

  • Fixed broadband penetration in Laos remains limited in scale and nature
  • After peaking in 2011 mobile subscriber penetration in Laos declined, since then there had been some recovery.
  • Low to moderate mobile subscriber growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.
  • There has been the rapid expansion of mobile broadband internet services on the back of the large-scale launch of 4G services.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Lao Telecom (LTC), Thaicom, ETL, Unitel, Lao Asia Telecom, Star Telecom, Viettel, Beeline, Millicom, Vimpelcom, Planet Online, Sky Telecom, China-APMT.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1 Economy
    • 3.2 WTO accession
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
    • 4.2 Historical overview
    • 4.3 Regional Asian Market Comparison
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT)
    • 5.3 Telecommunications Law No. 2 (2012)
    • 5.4 Earlier legislation
      • 5.4.1 Telecommunications Act 2001
      • 5.4.2 National Authority for Post and Telecommunications (NAPT)
    • 5.5 SIM Registration
    • 5.6 Regulatory issues
      • 5.6.1 Internet laws and decrees
      • 5.6.2 Single gateway policy
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Overview
    • 6.2 Lao Telecom
    • 6.3 ETL
      • 6.3.1 Overview
      • 6.3.2 Fixed-line operations
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 Fibre Networks
    • 7.3 International infrastructure
      • 7.3.1 Satellite (LaoSat-1 project)
      • 7.3.2 Terrestrial cable links
      • 7.3.3 Other Developments - PoPs
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Background
    • 8.2 Market Overview
    • 8.3 Market Statistics and Forecasts
    • 8.4 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.4.1 DSL
      • 8.4.2 WiMAX
      • 8.4.3 Optical fibre
      • 8.4.4 Satellite
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Market Analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics and Forecasts
    • 9.3 Mobile broadband statistics and Forecasts
  • 10. Mobile infrastructure
    • 10.1 Third Generation (3G) mobile services
    • 10.2 Long Term Evolution (LTE) / 4G services
  • 11. Major mobile operators
    • 11.1 Operator Statistics
    • 11.2 Lao Telecom (LTC)
    • 11.3 ETL
    • 11.4 Beeline Cambodia
    • 11.5 Unitel
    • 11.6 Sky Telecom
  • 12. Digital economy
    • 12.1 E-government
    • 12.2 E-health
  • 13. Digital Media
    • 13.1 Introduction
    • 13.2 Digital TV
    • 13.3 VoIP
  • 14. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country Statistics, Major Operators and Telco Authorities – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Top Level Country Statistics – 2018 (e)
  • Table 3 – Historical - Fixed-line subscribers – 1995 - 2006
  • Table 4 – Fixed-line subscribers – 2007 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Historic - WLL (fixed wireless) subscribers – 2004 - 2015
  • Table 6 – Historic - Fibre network by installed route length
  • Table 7 – Historic - Fibre network by operator
  • Table 8 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 - 2023
  • Table 9 – Historic - Fixed broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2009
  • Table 10 – Internet users and Penetration – 1998 - 2017
  • Table 11 – Internet bandwidth capacity – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 12 – Lit/Equipped International Bandwidth Capacity – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 13 – Historic - DSL subscribers – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 14 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 – 2023
  • Table 15 – Historic - mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration – 1995 - 2006
  • Table 16 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2011 - 2023
  • Table 17 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
  • Table 18 – Mobile operators and Systems
  • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2018
  • Table 20 – ETL’s mobile subscribers – 2003 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Beeline’s mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 22 – Beeline’s mobile ARPU – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Unitel’s mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 24 – Historic - Key broadcasting statistics - 2016
  • 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 – South East Asia
  • Chart 5 – Fixed-line subscribers – 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) – 2011 - 2023
  • Exhibit 1 – Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 2 – South East Asia - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country

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