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Laos - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 11 Aug 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 85

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Laos investigates m-payment platforms to promote digital economy

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 its telecom infrastructure. As a result, it has attracted greater foreign investment into the sector.

The provision of fixed broadband services is low, which is of major concern for the overall social and economic development of the country. Services are limited in scale and reach, partly due to the meagre footprint of fixed-line services and partly due to the dominance of the mobile platform, which provides the bulk of voice and data connectivity.

The mobile sector has gone through a difficult period, and though subscriber growth has picked up to some extent following a three-year slump up to 2018, the MNOs operate in a tightly regulated environment with little latitude on pricing and competition.

The mobile broadband sector has expanded rapidly in recent years as the reach of LTE infrastructure has been expanded. While mobile broadband penetration remains low for the region, this provides an opportunity for further growth during the next few years.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • ASEAN Digital Hub project providing greater international capacity for Laos;
  • MPT examines m-payment platforms;
  • Mobile subscriber penetration recovers from dip in 2018;
  • Unitel continues with 5G trials;
  • Rapid expansion of mobile broadband services seen on the back of large-scale LTE;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market report for 2018, ITU statistics for 2019, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

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