The regulatory framework of telecommunications in Malta has undergone substantial changes in recent years, with the market gradually opening up for competition in a phased process.
The first significant step in this process was the enactment of the Telecommunications (Regulation) Act in December 1997 whereby the office of the Telecommunications Regulator was established thereby providing for the separation of regulatory functions from the operation and provision of telecommunication services and systems. Also as a result of this law, the business of Telemalta Corporation was taken over by Maltacom p.l.c.
Subsequently, in the year 2000, the Malta Communications Authority Act was enacted and established the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) as the competent regulatory authority of telecommunication services and systems under the Telecommunications (Regulation) Act. Concurrently, amendments were made to the Telecommunications (Regulation) Act establishing, inter alia, a National Plan for the reform of the telecommunications sector which includes a timetable for liberalisation of all telecommunication services. According to the National Plan:
- All telecommunications services other than fixed telephony, mobile telephony, international gateway and cable telecom were liberalised with effect from 1st August 2000.
- Mobile telephony will remain a duopoly up to 31st December 2002.
- Cable Television was liberalised on 1st June 2001.
- Fixed telephony and international gateway service including data services will be liberalised on 1st January 2003.
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