A small wealthy nation in South East Asia, with a population of a little over 400,000, telecommunications infrastructure and services throughout Brunei are of a generally high standard, bolstered by a high GDP per capita.
Brunei is ranked 10th with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 47. Brunei is ranked 3rd in the Market Challenger category out of 16 countries. (The publisher's Asian Telecoms Maturity Index, is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in all of the 34 countries in Asia.)
Fixed line penetration has seen a slow downhill slide over the past ten years. It has fallen as mobile broadband has taken over as the driver of growth in the telecoms access market.
Fixed broadband penetration in Brunei has increased moderately over the past few years from a relatively low base of subscribers by international comparisons. Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.
Slower growth is predicted in the mobile subscriber market over the next five years to 2023. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to strong local competition and a further maturing market.
Brunei has seen a very strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years. Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 as growth subsides in a maturing market. The mobile broadband market will be driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers, falling levels of fixed line subscribers and increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators.
Mobile broadband has grown strongly and is now driving growth in the market.
Slow growth in the mobile market is predicted over the medium term.
Fixed broadband penetration in Brunei has increased moderately over the past few years
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telekom Brunei Bhd (TelBru); DSTCom; B-Mobile; Progresif Cellular; Darussalam Assets.
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
4.2 Regional Asian Market Comparison
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Regulatory authority
5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
5.4 Regulatory developments
6. Fixed network operators
6.1 Telekom Brunei Bhd (TelBru)
6.2 DST Group
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 National telecom network
7.1.3 Fibre-to-the-Home/Premises (FttH/FttP)
7.1.4 Public payphones
7.2 International infrastructure
7.2.1 Trans-Borneo Optical Cable Network
7.2.2 Submarine cable networks
7.2.3 Satellite networks
7.2.4 Data centres
8. Fixed-line Broadband market
8.1 Fixed Broadband statistics and Forecasts
8.2 National Broadband Blueprint
8.3 Brunei International Gateway (BIG)
8.4 High Speed Broadband (HSBB)
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Mobile Statistics and Forecasts
9.2 Mobile Broadband Statistics and Forecasts
9.3 Mobile operators
9.3.1 Operator Statistics
9.3.3 Progresif Cellular (formerly B-Mobile)
10. Digital economy
10.1.4 ICT Rural Outreach Programme (iROP)
11. Digital media
11.2 Broadcasting Act
11.3 Satellite TV
12. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 Country Statistics, Major Operators and Telco Authorities 2018 (e)
Table 2 Top Level Country Statistics 2018 (e)
Table 3 Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
Table 4 Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration 2007 2018
Table 5 Fixed line subscribers and penetration rate 1990; 1995; 2000 - 2006
Table 6 Historic Fibre-based broadband subscribers 2013 - 2015
Table 7 Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2008 2023
Table 8 Internet Users and Penetration 2007 - 2017
Table 9 Historic - internet users 1996 - 2006
Table 10 International internet bandwidth 1999 - 2018
Table 11 Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2008 2023
Table 12 Historic - mobile subscribers 1995 - 2006
Table 13 Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2010 - 2023
Table 14 Mobile operators and systems
Table 15 Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2018
Table 16 DSTCom - mobile subscribers 1999 - 2018
Table 17 Progresif Cellular - mobile subscribers 2005 - 2018
Table 18 Historic - Key broadcasting statistics - 2016
List of Charts
Chart 1 Mobile, Mobile Broadband & Fixed Broadband Penetration 2018; 2023
Chart 2 Asian Telecoms Maturity Index by Market Category
Chart 3 Asian Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 4 Telecoms Maturity Index South East Asia
Chart 5 Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration 2007 - 2018
Chart 6 Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2008 - 2023
Chart 7 Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2008 - 2023
Chart 8 Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) 2010 - 2023
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1 Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 2 South East Asia - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
Exhibit 3 Major submarine cables with landing points in Brunei
Brunei’s telecom regulator, the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI), was established in 2003. Although seen as a positive step, the creation of a new regulator has not really accelerated telecom reform to any extent.
The local market has continued to be dominated first by JTB and then by Telekom Brunei (TelBru), JTB’s corporatised successor; although there are plans to privatise the incumbent telco, it remains for the time being under the wing of the government. It was a significant step in 2006, when the Department of Economic Planning and Development announced the corporatisation of JTB. However, much more remains to be done in the area of sector reform.
For some time the country’s telecom regulator, the AITI, had been expressing concern about the performance of mobile operator B-Mobile. The smaller of the two mobile operators, B-Mobile had managed to maintain a subscriber base of close to 20% of the country’s total mobile market. The operator had been experiencing serious network performance problems and was also rumoured to be struggling financially.
In a surprise move, parent Telekom Brunei submitted a petition to Brunei’s Supreme Court in 2013 seeking to wind up its subsidiary B-Mobile. The mobile operator was continuing to function into 2014, but there remained major issues to be addressed. B-Mobile was acquired by investment company Darussalam Assets in July 2014. The operator was re-branded Progresif Cellular.
While Brunei’s economy is not heavily exposed to the global capital markets, the 2008/2009 global financial crisis did impact on Brunei. Although the country’s banks were also well placed to manage any period of economic difficulty, the country was definitely not isolated from what was happening globally.
The fall in oil prices triggered by the global economic crisis and subsequent decline in energy production saw Brunei’s GDP contract by almost 2% in 2008 and again in 2009. The economy recovered sufficiently for GDP growth to be positive again by 2010, returning an annual growth rate of nearly 3% and repeating this in 2011. Growth has since been somewhat weak and/or negative. The IMF had forecast annual growth of -2% for Brunei in 2016.