Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/19/2014 -- Executive summary
As the fixed markets decline in the Maldives, mobile broadband services see strong ongoing demand.
With its relatively small population of less than 350,000 living on many islands across the archipelago, providing good communications for the Maldives has been paramount. The nation has addressed this challenge with considerable success. It now prides itself on having built one of the most advanced telecommunications systems in the region. With the country's well-developed national network, the capital Male is particularly well served, as are the tourist resort islands;
this was further enhanced by the provision of a submarine cable connection to Sri Lanka in 2005;
at the same time the opportunity has been taken to provide undersea links between the main atolls, thereby substantially strengthening the domestic connectivity. A second submarine cable linked the archipelago to India in 2006.
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Efficient telecommunications services have been established to all inhabited islands by the national telco, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Pvt Ltd (Dhiraagu). Dhiraagu, initially set up as a joint venture between the government and Cable & Wireless plc, has played a major role in establishing the country's telecoms infrastructure. Despite having been criticised in the early stages of development for its high tariff structure, the company has played an undeniably important role in building networks and delivering telephone services across the archipelago. Dhiraagu's shareholding was opened to public investment in late 2011 when an IPO saw the government sell off some of its stake. In a somewhat surprising move, Bahrain's Batelco acquired the whole of C&W Communications' 52% stake in Dhiraagu in April 2013.
Dhiraagu was initially granted an exclusive licence to provide all telecommunications services in the country. With its licence renewal in 1995, the operator was given a more clearly stated mandate to provide telephone access to all inhabited islands by the year 2000. The Dhiraagu monopoly was officially set to run out in 2008. However, the government moved to open up the market earlier than that. The licensing of a second ISP by the government in 2002 signalled its intention to proceed with deregulation ahead of time. A second mobile licence was issued in due course, the new operator Wataniya Telecom becoming operational in 2006.
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