Iceland’s telecom market is small but technologically advanced, providing modern services for its highly urbanised and prosperous population. A number of players have emerged to challenge the dominance of the two leading players Síminn and Sýn, which have interests in numerous sectors. Sýn was formerly Vodafone Iceland which was rebranded to reflect the company’s move into broadband and broadcasting following its December 2017 acquisition of most of the telecoms and media interests of 365 Media. The main regulatory body governing information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Iceland is the Post and Telecom Affairs (PTA), an independent agency under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior. The PTA supervises development, logistics, and fair competition in the field of telecommunications networks in Iceland.
Iceland’s economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. Except for a brief period during the 2008 crisis, Iceland has in recent years achieved high growth, low unemployment, and a remarkably even distribution of income. Iceland’s economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, particularly within the fields of tourism, software production, and biotechnology.
Tourism accounted for 8.6% of Iceland’s GDP in 2016, and 39% of total exports of merchandise and services. From 2010 to 2017, the number of tourists visiting Iceland increased by nearly 400%. Since 2010, tourism has become a main driver of Icelandic economic growth.
Since the collapse of Iceland’s financial sector in 2008, government economic priorities have included stabilizing the krona, implementing capital controls, reducing Iceland’s high budget deficit, containing inflation, addressing high household debt, restructuring the financial sector, and diversifying the economy. Capital controls were lifted in March 2017, but some financial protections, such as reserve requirements for specified investments connected to new inflows of foreign currency, remain in place.