The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) has today published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2016.
The report provides an overview of the work and activity performed by the Authority throughout the year with particular emphasis on the outputs and outcomes achieved against the objectives set out in the MCA Annual Business and Strategic Plan.
The year under review marked the 15th anniversary since the MCA was set up with the original mandate of fostering competition in the telecommunications markets. Along the years the MCA’s functions were largely expanded, to include the regulation of postal services and eCommerce, and facilitating and promoting the development of a digital society spurred by innovation.
The following are key highlights from the report:
- The general picture of the electronic communications sector that emerges for 2016 is consistent with the long-term market trends, with uptake and usage growing for mobile telephony and fixed broadband. The number of mobile subscriptions reached 585,470 by end of 2016 representing a penetration rate of 133% and an increase of 5% year-on-year. The number of fixed broadband subscriptions reached 171,263 by the end of the year, an increase of 4.9% over 2015.
- Demand for pay TV was down, with subscriptions totalling 147,756, i.e. dropping by 1.1% when compared to 2015. This comes at a time when more users are getting increasingly familiar with non-linear TV programming such as Netflix which launched its services in early 2016.
- Postal mail volumes in 2016 continued to decline, down by 3.1% when compared to the previous year, mainly owing to the proliferation and increasing use of different online communication platforms.
- Throughout the year MCA actively supported the Government in the build-up to Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, providing technical support in relation to key dossiers emanating from the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.The MCA continued to participate and make meaningful contributions in various EU and international fora particularly within BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.
- The MCA provided technical advice to Government and the European Commission in the preparation for the abolition of roaming surcharges and the implementation of Roam-Like-At-Home, monitoring adherence of local mobile operators to the Regulations.
- The Authority issued a decision whereby all subscribers of electronic communications services who do not have internet access will be entitled to receive their bill in hard-copy format free of charge.In total, thirteen regulatory decisions were issued in the course of the year.
- Discussions were concluded with Amazon, providing Maltese individual sellers and businesses with access to Amazon’s platform and more than 240 million customers worldwide.
- The number of free Wi-Fi hotspots was increased to reach 300 by the end of the year, including new installations on the most popular beaches on the island.
- The MCA organised the sixth edition of the eBusiness Awards to celebrate the best technological achievements of the year, attracting a record number of nominations. For the first time, participants of the eBusiness Awards had the chance to participate in the World Summit Awards.
- The MCA also organised a number of training sessions addressing different cohorts, focusing on the use of ICT, e-commerce and internet safety.
- For the first time, the MCA organised ZEST, an innovation event which attracted over 375 participants including start-up founders and CEOs, investors, talent, influencers and support professionals.
- An online Maltese dictionary (http://www.maltesedictionary.org.mt/) was launched with the objective of sustaining our national identity, culture and language.
- Throughout the year, the MCA trained some 580 students in coding and organised a nationwide initiative ‘Hour of Code’, during which approximately 40 schools and 6,000 students engaged in activities aimed at promoting coding.
- A new corporate website was launched whilst online media activity on social media platforms was boosted as a means to better reach the general public and stakeholders.
In publishing this report, Dr. Edward Woods, Chairman of the Malta Communications Authority expressed his satisfaction for what was achieved by the Authority during 2016 and renewed the Authority’s determination to continue addressing the challenges ahead. “As the national agency responsible for the communications sector in Malta, we are driven by the vision for first-class 5G, ultra-fast broadband connections, ever-more connected devices, better quality of service and positioning our nation as a hub for digital innovation. I appreciate that the task is not easy. However, I am confident that with our commitment and appropriate action, in partnership with Government and multiple public and private stakeholders, we can ensure progress in these areas to benefit all citizens and businesses for a truly inclusive digital society in Malta.”
The Annual Report and Financial Statements 2016 can be viewed on, or downloaded from, the MCA’s website.