Dhiraagu

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Dhiraagu
Industry Telecommunications
Founded October 1, 1988 - Joint venture of Maldivian Government and Cable & Wireless Communications
Headquarters Malé, Maldives (head office)
Key people Mr Ismail Waheed - CEO/MD, Mr Ismail Rasheed - CE
Products Mobile Broadband
ADSL Broadband
Mobile Prepaid
Mobile Postpaid
Revenue "N/A"
Employees 630+ full time
Website www.dhiraagu.com.mv

Dhiraagu (Dhivehi: ދިރާގު) is the first Maldivian telecommunications company, which was established in 1988. Dhiraagu was the only company licensed to provide internet and GSM services until 2004 and 2005 respectively and continues to be the sole landline operator. Major services provided by the company includes landline telephony, Internet (including dial-up access and broadband, satellite and ADSL services), and 3.5G. Dhiraagu is also the only total communication solution provider in the Maldives and the only mobile operator with 100% coverage in all inhabited islands and resorts. Despite competition on both mobile and internet, Dhiraagu remains to be the leading telecom service provider with 80% market share and the preferred brand for over 300,000 people.

The name "Dhiraagu" is an acronym for Dhivehi Raajjeygé Gulhun (Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ގުޅުން)-Literally: Connection of Maldives.

Dhiraagu maintains one of the world's longest microwave links over water. This 65 km link across the equator connects Fuvahmulah and Gaafu Dhaalu - and therefore Gaafu Alifu atoll.[1]

History[edit]

Dhiraagu front office, circa 1990. To left is the flag of Cable & Wireless Communications and to right is Flag of the Maldives.

Though Dhiraagu is the first Maldivian telecommunications company, it's not the first to start the service. Telecommunication service in the Maldives was officially started on December 23, 1943, by the Maldivian government. On May 17, 1977 Cable and Wireless (C&W) started its operations as the telecom provider. Later, in 1988, Cable and Wireless and the government of the Maldives formed a joint venture company, Dhiraagu, making it the first ever Maldivian telecommunication company. The Maldivian government holds 48% share of the company and 52% is owned by C&W.

Dhiraagu used blue as its corporate colour since it began operation in 1988. After 17 years, to change the corporate identity in order to face the competition, on June 23, 2005, Dhiraagu changed both its logo and colour. The corporate colour has been changed from blue to red.

Significant events[edit]

  • 1988 — Dhiraagu was officially established on October 1, 1988
  • 1989 — Major upgrade of cable network in Malé
  • 1991 — Paging service introduced
  • 1996 — Internet service was introduced to Maldives, for the first time, as a product of Dhiraagu. It was formerly called Netlink and later changed to DhivehiNet
  • 1997 — Mobile phone service was introduced under the brand label DhiMobile. Initially this service was provided over Advanced Mobile Phone System.
  • 1999 — Mobile phone service's platform changed to GSM
  • 2005 — On June 23, 2005, Dhiraagu rebranded and introduced a new logo.
  • 2006 - In Feb 2006 Dhiraagu initiated world record dive helped to put Maldives onto Guinness world record book
  • 2006 - Dhiraagu connects Maldives to the rest of the world via submarine cable
  • 2006 - Dhiraagu establishes domestic fiber optic submarine cable
  • 2010 - Dhiraagu introduces 3.5G services to Maldives

Tier 2 Network[edit]

On September 18, 2005 Dhiraagu signed an agreement with Sri Lanka Telecom for an Optical Submarine Cable System. Under the agreement, both companies will invest in maintaining the cable. The actual work of laying the 837 km cable was done by NEC of Japan, under a contract valued at US$ 22.7 Million.[2] On November 14, 2006 the cable was connected to a landing site at Hulhumale', Maldives.[3] This Tier 2 network has an initial transmission capacity of 3 Giga bit per second (Gbit/s), which is capable of being increased to up to 160 Gbit/s. The system adopts WDM, or Wavelength Division Multiplexing. This is the second submarine cable connecting Maldives to the world.[4]

Original logo. This logo was replaced by their current logo on June 23, 2005.

Dhiraagu stated that this cable will help the company to reduce the cost of providing communication and internet services, thus reducing prices. Also the cable system will help to improve quality of services.

Criticism[edit]

Dhiraagu has long been seen to dominate the telecom market in the Maldives, a situation it is accused of having created and maintained. Until 2004 the Telecommunications Authority of Maldives had refrained from issuing additional licenses to companies preventing any competition to all of the telecom services provided by Dhiraagu. This status quo may have been deliberately retained by the Maldivian government in an effort to profit from Dhiraagu's revenues, as it partly owns the company.

Dhiraagu was also heavily criticized for what the public describes as absurdly high prices during the 1980s and 1990s. Foreseeing competition and regular criticism from the public, the company had dramatically lowered the service prices.

Competition[edit]

Raajjé Online (ROL), established in 2003, became Dhiraagu's first competitor. ROL is the second Internet Service Provider.

In 2005, Wataniya Telecom International - a Kuwaiti telecom company - was awarded the license to operate as the second mobile phone operator. They formed Wataniya Telecom Maldives and started operation on August 1, 2005.

References[edit]

External links[edit]