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MVNOs extend reach of LTE
Despite its small size, Malta’s telecom sector is among the most advanced in Europe. Mobile and broadband penetration are both relatively high, while ongoing investments in networks are providing customers with a range of bundled services. The sector is also stimulated by regulatory measures designed to increase competition and to reduce consumer prices, as also to pave the way towards a national FttP telecom network. The regulator has keenly promoted this infrastructure to develop the eCommerce sector, conscious that the country’s geographic location and economy dominated by micro-businesses restricts the potential for companies to make effective use of online sales.
The broadband market remains largely controlled by two operators, with Melita retaining a monopoly on cable services and GO commanding a near complete dominance in the DSL market. Alternative broadband players have only a small share of the DSL market. An island-wide WiMAX service is provided by Vodafone, while Melita also operates an extensive Wi-Fi mesh network.
The value of Malta’s telecom market, as also its contribution to the overall economy, has fallen since 2009. The decline is in line with other telecom markets in Europe and follows the global context of the economic downturn. Investment in telecoms networks has been maintained, though mainly made up of investment from mobile operators which has compensated for lower investment by other operators providing fixed-line services.
In the mobile market Vodafone Malta, GO Mobile and Melita Mobile have been joined by a few MVNOs which are gradually extending market share, though the sector remains dominated by GO Mobile and Vodafone, which together control about 85% of the market by subscribers. These operators offer quad-play services including mobile combinations of voice, cable TV, IPTV and telephony, which as bundles make it hard for other operators to gain a foothold other than within narrow markets. Nevertheless, a sympathetic regulatory regime is having a marked effect on operator behaviour as they struggle to retain existing customers in an increasingly competitive market.
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.
Market penetration rates in Malta’s telecoms sector – 2015 (e)
GO seeks sale of entire shareholding following moves by EITML to sell its 60% stake in the company;
Vodafone providing majority population coverage with LTE;
Government supporting a national FttP network;
GO launches a 500Mb/s fibre-based service;
Malta’s first VoD service launched by Melita;
Melita extends 250Mb/s broadband service;
Vodafone launches commercial LTE service;
Regulator amends mobile licences to promote LTE;
Government launches Digital Malta: National Digital Strategy 2014-2020;
Regulator’s market data updates to July 2015, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q2 2015; recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Vodafone, GO, Melita, SIS, Ozone, Redtouch Fone, PING.
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Malta’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
Convergence and Digital Media;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and industry issues;
Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).