Last updated: 18 Apr 2020 Update History
Report Pages: 59
Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo
Revenue from the telecom sector in the Maldives is limited by the relatively small local population, though it is supported by a considerable influx of tourists. The vibrant tourist sector helps to account for the unusually high mobile penetration rate, though multiple SIM card use is also widely adopted. In, addition a large number of expatriate workers require SIM cards on a semi-temporary basis. Steady growth in recent years has attracted international investment, including the Qatar-based Ooredoo Group.
The two licensed operators, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun (Dhiraagu) and Ooredoo Maldives, have both invested in HSPA and LTE infrastructure, providing national coverage with both technologies following substantial investment. This development has encouraged the take-up of mobile broadband services among subscribers. In late 2018 Dhiraagu trialled 5G technology, though commercial services have not yet been considered given the existing capabilities of LTE.
Both Dhiraagu and Ooredoo Maldives also provide fixed-line services and have greatly expanded the reach of their respective fibre networks.
The country has given priority to telecom infrastructure upgrades, with considerable success. There is a well-developed national network, and in recent years investment has been extended to outlying islands, following a period when commercial considerations focussed such investment in the capital Malé as well as in tourist resorts.
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.
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.
Dhiraagu, Wataniya, Ooredoo Maldives, Focus Infocom, Thuraya, Cable & Wireless Communications.
As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.
Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.
The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.
Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation
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