Timor-Leste has been moving forward with the regeneration of its economy and rebuilding key infrastructure, including telecommunications networks, which had been destroyed during the years of civil unrest. On the strength of this, the government was well placed to launch the Timor Digital 2032 program, aimed at developing digital services and the ICT sector, and delivering a range of digital services covering areas such as government, health, and education.
Fixed-line and fixed broadband penetration in Timor-Leste remains extremely low, mainly due to the limited fixed-line infrastructure. However, Timor Telecom’s national terrestrial fibre network has helped boost fixed broadband subscriber growth and will continue to do so over the next few years. Despite this, the sector requires greater organisation and discipline: in urban areas, operators frequently lay telecom cables in a haphazard and chaotic fashion, which has led the national electricity provider to call on the telecom regulator to bring some order in the use of existing poles.
Timor-Leste has three telcos - Timor Telecom, Telkomcel and Telemor - which jointly provide 98% national coverage with their mobile infrastructure. All three launched LTE services during 2019, and this has resulted in a rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration, driven by a rising proportion of mobile subscribers having smartphones. While the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development, strong growth is predicted over the next five years.
The capability of telecom services will be enhanced when the country is connected to the submarine cable linking to Australia via the North Western Cable System (NWCS). While a prefabricated modular landing station is due to be delivered to Dili in April 2024, bureaucracy, and a degree of indecisiveness on the part of the government risks that connectivity to the NWCS will be delayed.
Timor Telecom, Telkomcel, Telemor, Kacific Broadband Satellites, Viettel, Portugal Telecom, Ceslink, Vocus, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin)
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