Archive for September, 2016

Sri Lanka’s mobile market continues to grow strongly

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Sri Lanka Telecom is losing its monopoly in a number of key areas earlier on led the way and since then the market has progressively been opened up to more and more competition. While mobile penetration has historically been relatively low compared with other more developed Asian markets, it is now catching up. The penetration of fixed lines in Sri Lanka declined sharply from to 13% in 2013 from 17% in 2012. Since then penetration been very slightly declining, reaching 12.4% in 2015 and 12.3% in 2016.

Demand for broadband data services driven by 3G and 4G adoption and increased smartphone penetration should drive reasonably strong growth in the local market moving into 2016 and 2017. Consolidation in Sri Lanka over the next few years is possible since the market is finding it difficult to sustain all five operators.

The highly competitive mobile market in Sri Lanka had been running with a healthy overall annual growth rate for some years. The mobile subscriber growth rate in Sri Lanka has been strong between 2011 and 2016. Mobile market penetration increased from 87% in 2011 to 105% in 2014, 116% in 2015 and 123% in 2016. The rate of growth will begin to decline over the next five years to 2021 as the market reaches a heightened state of maturity. Mobile broadband is growing strongly in Sri Lanka, driven by strong mobile subscriber growth. Market penetration has increased from 8% in 2013 to 13% in 2014 and is predicted to reach 18% in 2016.

The market has undoubtedly benefited from its liberalisation and the competition that came with five operators continuing to battle it out for market share. However consolidation in Sri Lanka over the next few years is possible since the market is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain all five operators. In December 2015 Dialog Axiata, was believed to be in negotiations to buy Bharti Airtel Lanka for USD100 million. By September 2016 the merger deal between Dialog Axiata and Bharti Airtel still had not occurred.

The early moves to offer broadband in the country met with limited success and it seemed that it would be some time before there is a substantial broadband market. However, by 2016 fixed broadband internet services were being supplemented by a rapidly expanding mobile broadband segment. Also during 2016 the availability of e-commerce applications including mobile banking, e-bus ticketing, and mobile points of sale (POS) continued to increase. Demand for broadband data services driven by 3G and 4G adoption and increased smartphone penetration should drive reasonably strong growth in the local market over the next few years.

Fixed broadband penetration in Sri Lanka is increasing strongly from a very small base. Penetration increased from 1.7% in 2012 to 2.6% in 2014 and 3.7% in 2016. Fixed broadband penetration is predicted to grow strongly to reach over 8.% by 2021.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Sri Lanka – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Tele2 Latvia to provide LTE-A nationally by end-2016

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Latvia’s telecom market has been shaped by the European Union, with the EU’s 2002 regulatory policies and the revised 2009 New Regulatory Framework being adopted as core components of the sector’s regulatory measures. The country is as also a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU. At the beginning of 2014 Latvia became the 18th country to adopt the euro as its national currency, and by the end of the year the incumbent telco, Lattelecom, transitioned to the euro for all of its businesses in both Latvia and Lithuania. The former currency, the Lat, had joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) in May 2005. Latvia became a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD in June 2016.

Latvia’s broadband market continues to suffer from inadequate progress on local loop unbundling, though the government has stepped up its efforts to build a national fibre broadband network, part-funded by the European Commission (EC).

Four mobile network operators compete in the market. LTE services have been launched commercially, while operators including Tele2 have expanded their LTE-A services into 2016. The recent auction of 2.6GHz spectrum has enabled operators to improve the capabilities of their LTE services. A significant auction of digital dividend spectrum held at the end of 2013 saw three operators secure licenses to 2030.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Latvia – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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Fibre-optic cable is transforming Tonga’s communication abilities

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Tonga is a now reaping the benefits of being connected to an undersea high-speed fibre-optic cable. The cable was installed in 2013 and links Tonga to Fiji and onto Sydney. It was financed by a combination of funding from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Tongan government and Tonga Cable – as part of the wider Pacific Regional Connectivity Program.

This high-speed Internet access is providing Tonga with the ability to provide better health care services, reliable and faster connections for education and appropriate infrastructure for emerging e-commerce initiatives.

Tonga is also heavily reliant on mobile technology. It has exhibited a strong mobile subscription growth in recent years at the expense of fixed lines which are in decline. Fixed line tele-density has dropped from around 30% in 2009 to just 12% in 2015.

There are a number of reasons for this decline, including the realisation that mobile technologies are far more suited to providing services to the many islands which are spread across such a vast ocean geography.

In addition, as there are limited funds available for building telecommunications infrastructure in Tonga – it must be directed towards the most economical and suitable technologies. Satellite technology in particular is in widespread use across Tonga and plays an important part in giving the more remote areas access to communications services.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Tonga – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Improved satellite infrastructure expected to make a vast difference in Tuvalu

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Tuvalu has a very small population on a global scale, with less than 10,000 inhabitants on the remote and scattered group of nine inhabited coral atolls. Mobile subscriber penetration sits at around 40% in Tuvalu, compared to fixed broadband at only 10% penetration. Surprisingly, this fixed broadband penetration is comparatively quite high when compared to most other South Pacific nations.

Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) is the government-owned and sole provider of telecommunication services. While it holds the monopoly in Tuvalu; in 2012 an amendment to the Telecommunications Act paved the way for government to license a second operator in the future.

TCC is working to improve telecoms services across Tuvalu which is heavily based on satellite technology. TCC has signed deals with Kacific Broadband Satellite which will see increases to high-speed bandwidth capacity over the next few years.

In addition, in 2015 Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) and TTC announced they had signed a 5-year contract to improve capacity and offer higher speed Internet for schools, hospitals and banks as well increased IP backhaul capacity for the mobile network.

These developments will go a long way to improve the telecoms services for citizens of Tuvalu.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Tuvalu – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Hello from Amsterdam

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

This time to report, not on developments in the Netherlands, but on the progress of the Dutch Smart City mission that will be arriving in Australia at the end of October.

This year is the 400th anniversary of the landing of Dirk Hartog in what is now Shark Bay, Western Australia. He placed an inscribed pewter plaque on a pole at what is now known as Inscription Point). This was the first European historic artefact on Australian soil.

To celebrate the anniversary the King and the Queen of the Netherland will make an official visit to Australia, and they will bring with them a trade delegation that will include a 25-person smart city delegation. The group includes representatives from local governments and private industry. I am assisting the Dutch Government to organise the mission, and for that purpose I am currently in the Netherlands.

The international group will visit seven cities during their week-long visit and meetings in these cities will be hosted by the local councils. They will start out in Adelaide and from there travel to Canberra, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Sydney, Ipswich and Sunshine Coast. These cities have been selected as being among the leading smart cities in Australia.

They will meet with local mayors and council directors, as well as with local businesses involved in the building of their smart cities. They will also visit various smart city projects in each of these cities.

On 3 November the Dutch Australian Smart City Summit will take place in Sydney, organised in collaboration with the Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA). Ministers from both countries will attend this event. There will be presentations on the national smart plans of both countries and a discussion on how to assist each other in these developments. There will be presentations on the leading smart cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven) and ASCA’s president, Michael Whereat, will update the visitors on developments in Australia.

Panel discussions will take place and, in the presence of the Queen of the Netherlands, Her Majesty Maxima of Orange, ministers, and Mrs Lucy Turnbull, there will be an official signing ceremony between Australian smart cities and the abovementioned Dutch cities, as well as a larger international group of smart cities from Europe, North America and Asia (the GSC3 Alliance).

The Summit will end with a networking luncheon.

So, a busy week in the Netherlands ensuring that both sides will get the most out of this event.

Paul Budde

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