“Government open to economic activity, at the center of which are the people” – Minister Silvio Schembri
“We want to aspire towards a Malta Communications Authority (MCA) that is more focused on consumer needs.” This was stated by Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri during the launch of a new service by the Malta Communications Authority. Entitled TeleCosts, this will lead to a stronger telecom service for consumers, operators and the industry, with regards to information tools on the bundled packages available on the market, for a better-informed choice.
When visiting the website www.telecosts.com, consumers can conveniently compare all local tariff plans available for mobile telephony, fixed telephony, internet, as well as bundled services for telephony, internet and TV. When visiting the portal, consumers can filter the options in the telecommunication services in accordance with their personal needs. Consumers are then provided with a list of the cheapest services offered on the market, in accordance to their preferences and needs.
During this launch, Minister Schembri announced the government’s vision for the MCA, which through proactive work should lead to our country having a more inclusive digital society, where the benefits of digital technology are felt by society at large. He mentioned the ongoing investment in telecommunications. These include an investment by the Malta Communications Authority, in monitoring and training facilities in the field of telecommunications, including a state-of-the-art system with monitoring facilities strategically located around the island, over a period of three years.
Minister Schembri noted how Malta is currently benefiting from three mobile telephony network providers offering 4.5G services nationwide, with one of the operators already investing in 5G-ready infrastructure.
He added that, following the success of the ‘eBiznify’ project in recent years through which almost 200 micro and SMEs have been trained, the MCA will continue to invest more in this e-commerce online training program and through an investment of €90 thousand, it will expand further over the coming year to attract an even wider audience.
Minister Silvio Schembri praised the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) for its reputation in the field of diligent regulation which promotes and facilitates continued investment and sustainable competition in the sector. He said that at Authority level, the government’s vision in the regulatory field is for the MCA to continue to monitor the various services offered in the sector, including fixed and mobile telephony, internet services, as well as television distribution. When it comes to the regulation of digital services in the European Union, the journey towards intelligent connectivity is expected. This includes the introduction of the revision of roaming regulations, e-commerce rules, and the Postal Services Directive, as well as the Digital Services Act announced for Malta.
Minister Schembri stressed the importance of strong connectivity, especially for an island like Malta which depends on interaction with Europe and international markets, for a country to remain competitive. In the words of Minister Schembri; “The success we have achieved in the Maltese economy would never have been possible if it were not for the advanced infrastructure of the telecommunications sector. I will give priority to the communications industry that supports any other industry. This is particularly true at a time when we are looking at the diversification of the Maltese economy into technologically advanced sectors.”
He stressed how the telecommunications infrastructure in Malta is the most developed in Europe. In fact, in the “Digital Economy and Society Index 2020″ issued by the European Commission, Malta ranks among the top five countries in Europe in terms of digital progress, in particular on the use of broadband, the internet capability, and the integration of digital technology by local businesses.
Mr Jesmond Bugeja, Chief Executive of the MCA, highlighted how the TeleCosts service will be useful in helping consumers get the most value out of their chosen service plan, by providing transparent, up-to-date and comparable information by all local service providers. He added that, in view of the changing needs of consumers, the MCA regularly monitors electronic communications to identify the main trends shaping the market. In its most recent data collection exercise for Q3 2020, the MCA recorded a total of 211,060 fixed broadband subscriptions as of September 2020, which translates into a 5.4% increase over the year before. Meanwhile, with nearly 19,000 new takeovers from the previous quarter, mobile subscriptions reached 635,040 by the end of the reporting period.