Malta Telecom Industry Update – Malta Melita and Vodafone Call Off Merger

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Albany, US, 2018-May-30 — /EPR Network/ —An innovative research report titled, “Malta – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses has been added to the research repository of Market Research Hub (MRH). The research study offers in-depth analysis and insights on the Malta’s telecom industry. Despite its small size, Malta’s telecom sector is among the most advanced in Europe, with high mobile and broadband penetration rates and a strategy in place to capitalise on infrastructure to develop e-commerce opportunities.

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The sector has also been stimulated by regulatory measures designed to reduce consumer prices, pave the way towards a national FttP telecom network and increase competition. To this end the Competition Authority examined the proposed merger between Vodafone Malta and Melita, a move which would have allowed the merged entity to provide a more effective challenge to the incumbent telco GO but which would essentially have created a market duopoly, given that other licensed operators have a very small market share. In December 2017 May 2017, Apax Partners, Fortino Capital and Vodafone Group called off the merger, citing difficulties in securing regulatory approval.

The broadband market is controlled by Melita, which retains a monopoly on cable services, and GO, commanding a near complete dominance in the DSL and fibre segments. An island-wide WiMAX service is provided by Vodafone, while Melita also operates an extensive Wi-Fi mesh network. GO is currently investing in an extensive FttP network, which covered about 64,000 premises by March 2018, while an all-fibre backhaul network also supports its LTE infrastructure.

Investment in telecoms networks has been maintained, though in recent years this was mainly made up of investment in mobile infrastructure which compensated for lower investment by other operators providing fixed-line services. However, since 2015 GO has embarked on a program to develop a wide-spread FttP network, and so provide a platform to develop services in future. In late 2017 the company announced plans to invest €100 million over five years, partly in LTE and fibre infrastructure as also in upgrading capacity on submarine cables.

The mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Malta, GO Mobile and Melita Mobile, with Redtouch Fone the only active MVNO.

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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.

Key developments:

  • Melita launches ‘5G ready’ LTE-A network;
  • Regulator planning revision of 900MHz and 1800MHz licences to encourage investment in NB-IoT services;
  • Melita and Vodafone call of merger plans;
  • GO acquired by Tunisie Telecom;
  • Vodafone expands LTE-A reach;
  • Melita launches a 1Gb/s broadband service;
  • GO commits to €100 million five-year investment;
  • Regulator restarts 800MHz auction process;
  • Government supporting a national FttP network;
  • GO launches a 500Mb/s fibre-based service;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data updates to December 2017, telcos’ operating data to Q1 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:
Vodafone Malta, GO, Melita, SIS, Ozone, Redtouch Fone, PING.

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