The number of fixed telephone lines in Bhutan is gradually declining from a very small base as the mobile segment continues to expand. Bhutan had been isolated from the rest of the world for a long time, both generally, and particularly in terms of its telecommunications. Its mountainous landscape made it especially difficult to build the necessary telecoms infrastructure.
Penetration is predicted to drop further by 2019 as this declining fixed-line trend continues.
Bhutan also came late to the internet. Development continued down a slow path, as the country embraced online activity cautiously. Fixed broadband penetration in Bhutan is increasing moderately from a very relatively small base. The fixed broadband market is predicted to continue to grow moderately over the next five years to 2022. The limited and declining number of fixed lines in Bhutan is restricting more widespread development of fixed broadband.
The mobile market in Bhutan has grown strongly over the past few years however the growth rate has subsided over the past few years as the mobile market begins to mature. Slower and declining growth is predicted to continue over the next five years to 2022 as the mobile subscriber market further matures.
B-Mobile is the leading mobile operator in Bhutan. TashiCell is its only market competitor, and has been bridging the gap over the past few years.
Mobile broadband has seen strong growth in Bhutan over the past five years and this strong growth is predicted to continue over the next two years to 2019.
The mobile networks have provided a major boost to internet access in the country, largely on the back of EDGE/GPRS, 3G and more recently 4G platforms.
4G LTE networks are now gaining traction in Bhutan with both major mobile operators offering 4G services.
- Bhutan's telecom sector has been continuing on a steady development path.
- TashiCell has been bridging the gap over the past few years in the mobile market.
- The mobile market in Bhutan has grown moderately over the past few years.
- Mobile broadband has seen strong growth and this is expected to continue.
- 4G LTE networks are now gaining traction in Bhutan.
Companies mentioned in this report are: Bhutan Telecom, B-Mobile, DrukNet, Samden Tech, Tashi InfoComm, TashiCell, Ericsson, Reliance, Airtel.
1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Bhutan Telecommunications Act 1999
5.2 Bhutan Information Communications and Media (BICM) Act 2006
5.3 BICMA legislation amendment or repeal?
5.4.2 Second mobile licence
6. Fixed network operators
6.1 Bhutan Telecom
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.1.2 Bhutan Telecom's infrastructure roll-out
7.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
7.1.4 Fibre networks
7.1.5 Universal Service Fund (USF)
7.1.6 Remote communities
7.1.7 Rural communications programs
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.2 Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs)
7.3 Forecasts Mobile Subscribers 2018 - 2022
8. Fixed-line broadband market
8.2 Internet and Broadband statistics
8.3 Fixed Broadband Service Providers
8.3.3 Samden Tech
8.4 Forecasts Fixed broadband subscribers 2018 - 2022
9. Mobile market
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Mobile broadband
10. Mobile infrastructure
10.2 4G LTE
11. Major mobile operators
11.1 Operator Statistics
11.3 Tashi InfoComm (Tashicell)
12. Digital economy
12.5 Social Media
13. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 Country statistics Bhutan 2017
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2017
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2017
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2017
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2017
Table 6 National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 Bhutan's GDP real growth rate 2006 - 2017
Table 8 Fixed Lines, Penetration and Annual Growth (with forecast) 2007 - 2019
Table 9 Historic - fixed lines in service and Penetration 1995 - 2005
Table 11 Internet Users, Penetration and Annual Growth (with forecast) - 2007 - 2019
Table 12 Historic - Percentage of households with a computer 2002 - 2006
Table 13 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate - 1999 2006
Table 14 Historic - Fixed internet subscribers 2003 - 2014
Table 15 Historic - Dial-up internet subscribers 2001 2008; 2010 - 2014
Table 17 Historic - DSL broadband internet subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 18 Broadband / Internet subscribers by type of access 2008; 2012 - 2016
Table 19 Historic - International internet bandwidth 2000 - 2006
Table 20 Broadband, Leased Line and Mobile Broadband by Service Provider 2016
Table 22 Historic - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2003 2009
Table 24 Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
Table 25 Mobile broadband, Penetration and Annual Growth (with forecast) 2007 - 2019
Table 26 Mobile operators and systems
Table 27 Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2017
Table 28 Historic - Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2016
Table 29 Historic - Mobile subscribers by operator 2014
Table 30 B-Mobile's subscribers 2003 - 2017
Table 31 Historic - B-Mobile's 3G subscribers 2008 - 2016
Table 32 TashiCell mobile subscribers 2010 - 2017
List of Charts
Chart 1 Fixed Lines and Penetration (with forecast) 2007 - 2019
Chart 2 Forecast Mobile Subscribers and Penetration - 2012 - 2022
Chart 3 Internet users and penetration (with forecast) - 2007 - 2019
Chart 4 Percentage of households with Internet access at home (with forecast) - 2007 - 2019
Chart 5 Percentage of households with a computer (with forecast) - 2007 - 2019
Chart 6 Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration - 2007 - 2017
Chart 7 International internet bandwidth 2007 - 2017
Chart 8 Forecast Fixed Broadband Subscribers - 2012 - 2022
Chart 9 Mobile Subscribers and Penetration - 2007 - 2017
Chart 10 Mobile broadband subscribers (with forecast) 2009 - 2019
Chart 11 Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2017
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1 Level of competition by market segment
Exhibit 2 Licences issued by service category
Exhibit 3 Licensed ISPs