Malta - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Malta’s competition authority investigates Melita and Vodafone merger

Despite its small size, Malta’s telecom sector is among the most advanced in Europe, with high mobile and broadband penetration rates and a strategy in place to capitalise on infrastructure to develop e-commerce opportunities.

The sector has also been stimulated by regulatory measures designed to reduce consumer prices, pave the way towards a national FttP telecom network and increase competition. To this end the Competition Authority has examined the proposed merger between Vodafone Malta and Melita, a move which would allow the merged entity to provide a more effective challenge to the incumbent telco GO but which would essentially create a market duopoly, given that other licensed operators have a very small market share.

The broadband market is controlled by Melita, which retains a monopoly on cable services, and GO, commanding a near complete dominance in the DSL and fibre segments. An island-wide WiMAX service is provided by Vodafone, while Melita also operates an extensive Wi-Fi mesh network. GO is currently investing in an extensive FttP network, which covered about 50,000 premises by mid-2017, while an all-fibre backhaul network also supports its LTE infrastructure.

Investment in telecoms networks has been maintained, though in recent years this was mainly made up of investment in mobile infrastructure which compensated for lower investment by other operators providing fixed-line services. However, since 2015 GO has embarked on a program to develop a wide-spread FttP network, and so provide a platform to develop services in future. In late 2017 the company announced plans to invest €100 million over five years, partly in LTE and fibre infrastructure as also in upgrading capacity on submarine cables.

The mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Malta, GO Mobile and Melita Mobile, with Redtouch Fone the only active MVNO. GO Mobile and Vodafone together commanded 80% of the market as of June 2017.

The key issue for coming years will be the continuing effort by the regulator to encourage a national broadband network through developing regulations attractive to investors, and so maintain momentum in one of Europe’s smallest markets.

Key developments:

  • Competition Authority investigates proposed merger of Melita and Vodafone;
  • GO acquired by Tunisie Telecom;
  • Vodafone launches LTE-A services providing data at up to 210Mb/s;
  • Melita launches a 1Gb/s broadband service;
  • GO commits to €100 million five-year investment;
  • Vodafone providing full population coverage with LTE;
  • Regulator cancels 800MHz auction after all three MNOs withdraw bids;
  • Government supporting a national FttP network;
  • GO launches a 500Mb/s fibre-based service;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data updates to June 2017, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q2 2017, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vodafone, GO, Melita, SIS, Ozone, Redtouch Fone, PING.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Telecommunications market
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historical overview
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
    • 4.3 Digital Society initiatives
    • 4.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 4.5 Privatisation
    • 4.6 Interconnect
    • 4.7 Access
    • 4.8 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
    • 4.9 Number Portability (NP)
  • 5. Fixed network operators
    • 5.1 GO
    • 5.2 Melita
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
    • 6.3 VoIP
  • 7. Wholesale
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 Broadband statistics
    • 8.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.3.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 8.3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.3.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • 8.4 Other fixed broadband services
      • 8.4.1 Satellite
      • 8.4.2 Wireless broadband
      • 8.4.3 Videostreaming
  • 9. Digital economy
  • 10. Mobile market
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
      • 10.2.1 General statistics
      • 10.2.2 Mobile data
      • 10.2.3 Mobile broadband
    • 10.3 Regulatory issues
      • 10.3.1 Roaming
      • 10.3.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 10.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 10.3.4 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • 10.3.5 Spectrum auctions
    • 10.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.4.1 Digital networks
    • 10.5 Major mobile operators
      • 10.5.1 Vodafone Malta
      • 10.5.2 GO Mobile
      • 10.5.3 Melita Mobile
      • 10.5.4 MVNOs
    • 10.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.6.1 Mobile TV
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Malta – 2017 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Annual fixed numbers ported – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Fixed-line subscriber market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 9 – Total fixed-line calls – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Total outgoing fixed-line traffic – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 11 – GO financial data (Lm) – 2004 - 2007
  • Table 12 – GO Group financial data (€) – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service and penetration rate – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 14 – Fixed lines by operator – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 15 – Historic - Dialup internet subscribers – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 16 – Internet users and penetration – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Broadband subscriptions by platform – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 18 – Proportion of broadband connections by data rate – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Broadband market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 20 – Broadband penetration – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 21 – Broadband ARPU – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 22 – Cable broadband penetration rate – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 23 – Melita cable broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 24 – DSL subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 25 – GO fibre broadband subscribers – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Fixed wireless subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 27 – BWA share of broadband market – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 28 – IPTV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 29 – eCommerce usage – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 30 – Mobile ARPU – contract and prepaid – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 31 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1998 - 2009
  • Table 32 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 33 – Mobile market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 34 – Mobile traffic – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 35 – Proportion of contract and prepaid subscribers, all operators – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Prepaid subscribers, all operators – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 37 – SMS messages sent – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 38 – Average cost of SMS messages (€) – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 39 – MMS messages – 2006 - 2018
  • Table 40 – Mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 41 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
  • Table 42 – European data roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 43 – Historic - Mobile termination rates by operator – 2005 – 2010; 2012
  • Table 44 – Annual mobile number portings – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 45 – Vodafone Malta subscribers – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 46 – GO Mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 47 – Melita mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 48 – MVNO subscribers by operators – 2011 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – GO Group financial data – 2007 - 2017
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and penetration rate – 2001 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Broadband subscriptions by platform – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Broadband market share by operator – 2007 – 2017
  • Chart 5 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Mobile market share by operator – 2007 – 2017
  • Chart 7 – SMS messages – 2005 – 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Mobile operators and spectrum allocation range
  • Exhibit 2 – 3G licence allocations – 2005; 2007

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