Fixed-line infrastructure remains limited in Timor Leste and significant investment has not been forthcoming due to the strong expansion of mobile services in the country.
Research & Markets reports that the spread of mobile services allowed reasonably rapid and effective coverage of key parts of the country, and so the pressure to expand fixed services has decreased.
Timor-Leste has been pressing ahead with the regeneration of its economy and the rebuilding of infrastructure, and the effort to roll out telecommunications infrastructure in particular has been a key part of this. Despite the considerable energy that has gone into this rebuilding, the prevailing social and political environment continues to present major challenges to those seeking to improve the country.
The Timorese government launched a new national terrestrial optical fibre network, aimed to boost e-government services. Australian telco Vocus Group is reportedly interested in partnering with the Timor-Leste government for the potential deployment of a submarine fibre-optic link connecting the south of the country to the North Western Cable System (NWCS).
Fixed broadband penetration in Timor Leste remains extremely low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines as well as the dominance of the mobile platform. However, the market has grown strongly over the past five years from a very small base. Timor Telecom was contracted for the supply, installation and configuration of a fibre-optic network, which will help to fuel stronger growth over the next few years. Over the next five years to 2023 the market is expected to grow very strongly but overall market penetration will remain extremely low compared to other nations.
All three major mobile operators: Timor Telecom, Telkomcel and Telemor launched 4G LTE services and their rollouts continued during 2019. A local consortium has submitted an application to become the country's fourth telecoms operator. Ceslink intends to offer high-quality, high-speed and affordable telecoms services in all areas of the country.
Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 in the mobile subscriber market. It will be constrained from higher growth due to strong local competition and a maturing market.
Timor Leste has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years, driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers with smartphones. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.