Malta - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Malta Melita and Vodafone call off 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 examined the proposed merger between Vodafone Malta and Melita, a move which would have allowed the merged entity to provide a more effective challenge to the incumbent telco GO but which would essentially have created a market duopoly, given that other licensed operators have a very small market share. In December 2017 May 2017, Apax Partners, Fortino Capital and Vodafone Group called off the merger, citing difficulties in securing regulatory approval.

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 64,000 premises by March 2018, 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.

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:

  • Melita launches ‘5G ready’ LTE-A network;
  • Regulator planning revision of 900MHz and 1800MHz licences to encourage investment in NB-IoT services;
  • Melita and Vodafone call of merger plans;
  • GO acquired by Tunisie Telecom;
  • Vodafone expands LTE-A reach;
  • Melita launches a 1Gb/s broadband service;
  • GO commits to €100 million five-year investment;
  • Regulator restarts 800MHz auction process;
  • Government supporting a national FttP network;
  • GO launches a 500Mb/s fibre-based service;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data updates to December 2017, telcos’ operating data to Q1 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historical overview
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
    • 5.3 Digital Society initiatives
    • 5.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.5 Privatisation
    • 5.6 Interconnect
    • 5.7 Access
    • 5.8 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
    • 5.9 Number Portability (NP)
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 GO
    • 6.2 Melita
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
    • 7.3 VoIP
  • 8. Wholesale
  • 9. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 9.3.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 9.3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 9.3.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • 9.4 Other fixed broadband services
      • 9.4.1 Satellite
      • 9.4.2 Wireless broadband
      • 9.4.3 Videostreaming
  • 10. Digital economy
  • 11. Mobile market
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
      • 11.2.1 General statistics
      • 11.2.2 Mobile data
      • 11.2.3 Mobile broadband
    • 11.3 Regulatory issues
      • 11.3.1 Roaming
      • 11.3.2 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 11.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 11.3.4 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • 11.3.5 Spectrum auctions
    • 11.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.4.1 Digital networks
    • 11.5 Major mobile operators
      • 11.5.1 Vodafone Malta
      • 11.5.2 GO Mobile
      • 11.5.3 Melita Mobile
      • 11.5.4 MVNOs
    • 11.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.6.1 Mobile TV
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Malta – 2017
  • Table 2 – Annual fixed numbers ported – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 3 – Fixed-line subscriber market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Total fixed-line calls – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 5 – Total outgoing fixed-line traffic – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 6 – GO financial data (Lm) – 2004 - 2007
  • Table 7 – GO Group financial data (€) – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and penetration rate – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 9 – Fixed lines by operator – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Historic - Dialup internet subscribers – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Broadband subscriptions by platform – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 13 – Proportion of broadband connections by data rate – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 14 – Broadband market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 15 – Broadband penetration – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 16 – Broadband ARPU – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Cable broadband penetration rate – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 18 – Melita cable broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 19 – DSL subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 20 – GO fibre broadband subscribers – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 21 – Fixed wireless subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 22 – BWA share of broadband market – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 23 – IPTV subscribers – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 24 – eCommerce usage – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 25 – Annualised blended mobile ARPU – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1998 - 2009
  • Table 27 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2019
  • Table 28 – Mobile market share by operator – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 29 – Mobile traffic – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 30 – Proportion of contract and prepaid subscribers, all operators – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 31 – Prepaid and contract subscribers, all operators – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 32 – SMS messages sent – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 33 – Average cost of SMS messages (€) – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 34 – MMS messages – 2006 - 2018
  • Table 35 – Mobile broadband subscribers by type – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 36 – European roaming charges – 2007 – 2016
  • Table 37 – European data roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 38 – Historic - Mobile termination rates by operator – 2005 – 2010; 2012
  • Table 39 – Annual mobile number portings – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Vodafone Malta subscribers – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 41 – GO Mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 42 – Melita mobile subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 43 – 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 – 2019
  • Chart 6 – Mobile market share by operator – 2007 – 2017
  • Chart 7 – Prepaid and contract subscribers, all operators – 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 8 – SMS messages – 2005 – 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Mobile operators and spectrum allocation range
  • Exhibit 2 – 3G licence allocations – 2005; 2007

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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