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.

For more information see - Malta - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses