03 January 2013

Timor-Leste commences liberalisation of telecommunications sector in 2013

ETLJB 03 January 2013 - The liberalisation of East Timor's telecommunication sector will commence this year, 2013. Since the restoration of independence in 2002, there has been only one telcom operator in East Timor, Timor Telecom but with reforms to the telecommunications laws enacted in 2012, two new operators will commence coverage of the nation this year.

Digicel (Digicel Pacific International), which is incorporated in Bermuda and provides services to the Caribbean, Central America and Asia-Pacific is well known for delivering best value, best service and best network and Telin (PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International) won tenders to provide telecommunications services last year and it is expected that with new competition in the sector, prices will be reduced and the telecommunications infrastructure expanded to cover 90% of the population. Digicel committed to launching a mobile GSM and high speed 3G Internet networks that would provide access to over 91 percent of the population within four months.

Telin pledged to launch its services within six months and committed to reaching 94 percent of the population with its mobile GSM network as well as providing high speed 3G Internet access.

The cost of accessing telephone and internet in East Timor under the much-criticised Timor Telecom, was exceedingly high and it provided only limited coverage East Timor. The vast majority of the rural population could not access telephone and internet service because of the cost and lack of service.

Timor Telecom's outrageously high costs were US$900 per month for fixed line and 256 kbps and US$900 per month for high speed unlimited service. These prices were attributed to the cost of bandwidth on international services and the fact that Timor Telecom enjoyed a monopoly.

Sector reforms also include creating an independent regulator – the National Communications Authority – which will be charged with developing a programme to support universal access to areas that are less commercially viable and to ensure compliance with competition rules.

Source: macauhub. Edited by Warren L. Wright.

* Correction: The two new companies are, in fact, Telin/Telekomsel and Vietel - Digicel, unfortunately, declined.

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