Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/06/2014 -- Executive summary
Macau continues to move forward on the full liberalisation of its telecom market
Macau is situated at the Pearl River Delta on the southeast coast of Mainland China, only 60km southwest of Hong Kong. Colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China in 1999 after 400 years of Portuguese rule. In this agreement Macau would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defence affairs for the next 50 years. The Basic Law provides for an independent executive, legislature and judiciary.
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Macau has built itself a strong modern telecoms infrastructure and large scale infrastructure projects continue to provide opportunity for expansion to telecommunications operators.
While fixed lines reached an effective saturation point a few years ago and penetration is steadily declining, the country's mobile market is one of the most highly penetrated in the world. There were over 1.6 million mobile subscribers in 2013, representing a penetration rate of around 275%, although many of these are prepaid subscriptions. Rapid growth in the mobile sector can be attributed to strong competition since the opening of the market in 2001. The advent of 3G in 2007 has seen the 2G share of the market fall to almost nothing by 2014. The 2G network switch-off has been delayed from mid-2012 to 2015, giving the regulator time to assess 4G opportunities in the interim.
Macau's internet user penetration rates are amongst the highest in the world at around 65%. Fixed broadband population penetration remains around 26%, a level that possibly indicates a lack of competition in the fixed-line sector. However, the incumbent CTM launched FttX broadband services in 2010 and expected to have 100% coverage by 2015.
In the meantime, in December 2011 CTM's exclusive telecommunications concession for fixed-line services in Macau came to an end. At the start of 2012 the DSRT announced specific regulations for the public tendering of a proposed additional fixed-line licence. When the proposed new licence was open up to bids in March 2012 MTel Telecommunications Co Ltd (MTel) was the sole bidder. The new fixed network operating licences were awarded in June 2013;
as expected, the licences were issued to existing player CTM and to new player MTel.
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