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Timor Leste (East Timor) - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 21 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 87

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Timor-Leste sees progresses with international connectivity

Fixed-line infrastructure remains limited in Timor Leste and significant fixed-line investment has been limited due to the strong expansion of mobile services in the country. As mobile services allowed reasonably rapid and effective coverage of key parts of the country, the pressure to expand fixed services decreased.

Timor-Leste has been pressing ahead with the regeneration of its economy and the rebuilding of infrastructure. The effort to roll out telecommunications infrastructure in particular has been a key part of this. Despite the considerable energy that has been going into this rebuilding, the prevailing social and political environment continues to present major challenges to those seeking to improve the country.

The Timorese government launched a new national terrestrial optical fibre network, aimed to boost e-government services.

Australian telco Vocus Group is reportedly interested in partnering with the Timor-Leste government for the potential deployment of a submarine fibre-optic link connecting the south of the country to the North Western Cable System (NWCS).

Fixed broadband penetration in Timor Leste remains extremely low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines as well as the dominance of the mobile platform. However, the market has grown strongly over the past five years from a very small base. Timor Telecom was contracted for the supply, installation and configuration of a fibre-optic network. This will help to fuel stronger growth over the next few years. Over the next five years to 2023 the market is expected to grow very strongly but overall market penetration will remain extremely low compared to other nations.

All three major mobile operators: Timor Telecom, Telkomcel and Telemor launched 4G LTE services and their rollouts continued during 2019.

A local consortium has submitted an application to become the country’s fourth telecoms operator. Ceslink intends to offer high-quality, high-speed and affordable telecoms services in all areas of the country.

Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 in the mobile subscriber market. It will be constrained from higher growth due to strong local competition and a maturing market.

Timor Leste has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years, driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers with smartphones. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.

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:

  • All three major mobile operators: Timor Telecom, Telkomcel and Telemor continue to roll-out 4G LTE services.
  • A local consortium has submitted an application to become the country’s fourth telecoms operator.
  • The Timorese government launched a new national terrestrial optical fibre network.
  • Vocus Group is interested in partnering with the local government for deployment of a submarine fibre-optic link
  • Fixed broadband penetration in Timor Leste remains extremely low, but recently expanded.
  • There has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years.
  • In 2019/2020 an important telecoms development is occurring for Timor Leste with the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

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