Liechtenstein is a small country in the Alps that possesses a modern communications system. Part of its telecommunications network and services are shared with the neighbouring country of Switzerland, while also keeping strong business connections with Austria and, to a lesser extent, Germany. Telecom services are widely available in the whole country.
Liechtenstein had a 98.8% Internet penetration rate by the end of 2019, and fiber network reached 3/4 of the population in 2020. The country has signed various multilateral treaties with Germany, Austria and Switzerland governing the allocation of terrestrial frequencies.
The Liechtenstein telecoms market is small and deeply intertwined with those of its neighbouring countries, particularly Switzerland and Austria.
The Amt für Kommunikation, or Office for Communications (AK), is the regulatory, supervisory and administrative authority in Liechtenstein. As an independent regulatory authority, the AK promotes and monitors effective competition in the telecommunications markets.
Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the third highest per capita income in the world. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. In 2011 Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area, which allows passport-free travel across 26 European countries. Liechtenstein and the EU agreed to clamp down on tax fraud and evasion, and in 2018 they started to automatically exchange information on the bank accounts of each other’s residents.
The national incumbent is Telecom Liechtenstein. Originally owned by the state, Swisscom acquired a 75% stake of the company in 2012, integrating it into its Swiss business. Swisscom took over both the telecoms business and telecoms infrastructure belonging to the Liechtenstein power company. Then the company was merged with the mobile branch of Telekom Austria in 2014, while keeping its corporate name. The merger was a non-cash transaction, designed to create a comprehensive provider of fixed-line, mobile, internet and TV services in Liechtenstein.