Maldives Telecoms Market Report

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 26 Nov 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 77

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Maldives telecom sector feels the sharp impact of tourists staying away during Covid-19

With its economy so heavily dependent on tourism, the Maldives has suffered heavy economic as well as health casualties during the pandemic. The country had a relatively short period of lockdown and was willing to welcome visitors back as early as July 2020. But the effective shutdown of international air travel for most of the year resulted in the bottom falling out of the Maldives’ tourism industry, taking GDP down 32% in the process. The economy fared better in 2021, with a return to growth, yet it may still be a few years before the country’s key industries can return to the same level of prosperity that they previously enjoyed.

The Maldives’ telecoms market is experiencing a similar level of pain because of the pandemic, due to being overweight in the mobile segment. That is because, historically, the country’s high number of tourists and expatriate workers has inflated the penetration rate for mobile services, making it one of the highest in the world. That rate crashed in 2020 as demand for SIM cards (primarily prepaid) dried up. However, the number of contract subscribers increased as locals took advantage of competitive pricing offers from operators.

Everything now rests on a fast return to normality, with tourists helping to boost the nation’s coffers as well as buying up those prepaid SIM cards. With commercial 5G services already launched and fibre networks rapidly expanding around the country, the Maldives is primed to deliver world-class telecommunications services to its domestic and international customers.

This report includes the regulator's market data to August 2021, telcos' financial and operating data updates to September 2021, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, and other recent market developments.

Key developments:

  • The Maldives’ telecom sector starts to show signs of recovery after being pummelled by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Ooredoo Maldives launches the Maldives’ first commercial 5G mobile service in Greater Male.
  • The Maldives-Sri Lanka (MSC) cable system is lit, less than a year after construction began.
  • Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM are awarded a contract to connect fishing vessels operating in the Maldives Economic Exclusion Zone to Inmarsat’s Fleet One maritime broadcast services.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun (Dhiraagu), Ooredoo Maldives, DhiMobile.

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