In an increasingly interconnected world, access to telecommunications and information has become an essential tool for social and economic development.

Spanning geographical borders, bridging diverse cultures, and imparting knowledge and opportunities, it serves as a catalyst for inclusive growth and the fortification of resilient societies. Brunei’s commitment persists in striving to guarantee that citizens can access and reap the benefits of digital services and infrastructure from providers, remaining dedicated to enhancing the availability, affordability, and reliability of the country’s digital infrastructure.

As of 2023, Brunei Darussalam ranks second in digital connectivity and access among ASEAN member states, according to a report on the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Development Index (IDI) released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The assessment, based on universal and meaningful connectivity principles, evaluated 169 economies.

Brunei achieved a high score of 94.8, attributed to widespread Internet access (over 90 per cent for individuals and households) and extensive availability of fourth-generation (4G) or long-term evolution (LTE) mobile network services, reaching over 96 per cent of the population. These figures surpass the global averages of 70 per cent for Internet access and 82.9 per cent for 4G or LTE mobile network services. Telecommunication infrastructure developments and the diverse range of telecommunication products and services in recent years have contributed to this performance. It reflects the nation’s ongoing efforts to develop its ICT sector to support the growth of the Sultanate’s digital economy and the realisation of Brunei as a Smart Nation.

Among the efforts in improving the connectivity in 2023 include launching fifth generation (5G) mobile network services and upgrading the fixed broadband speeds. Brunei acknowledges the significance of fostering a well-connected nation, and the country’s dedication to enhancing access to telecommunications and information services has remained steadfast.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha, in commemoration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) themed, ‘Empowering the Least Developed Countries through Information and Communication Technologies’ in 2023, shared that investment in network infrastructure expansion and innovative solutions will continue to enable citizens to communicate, access online services, and participate in the global digital economy activities and events regardless of their locations.

Brunei telecommunications industry

The country has three major telecommunications service providers namely, Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST), imagine Sdn Bhd and Progresif Sdn Bhd offering prepaid and postpaid plans to subscribers in Brunei.

Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN), being a wholesale network company, looks after the country’s network infrastructure and provides the support to the service providers in providing connectivity to respective subscribers.


Established in 2003, the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) is responsible for the country’s telecommunications, radiocommunications and postal regulation; radiofrequency spectrum planning and management; and ICT industry development. January 1, 2023 marked AITI’s 20th anniversary, a significant milestone as AITI plays a major role in driving the development of the telecommunications and ICT industry.

Expanding Connectivity and Regulatory Advances

2023 was a turning point in the telco industry as AITI together with Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN), Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST), imagine Sdn Bhd and Progresif Sdn Bhd announced the commencement of 5G services following the award 5G Spectrum Rights to UNN by AITI in January 2023. This is a milestone in the development of the technological landscape for Brunei Darussalam as it enhances the speed and quality of connectivity available in the nation.

The function of postal regulatory authority from the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) was transferred to AITI when the Postal Services Order, 2023 came into effect in March 2023. To protect against misuse of personal data, AITI is preparing for the enactment of the Personal Data Protection law, where AITI will play a role in regulating the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data. Several engagements have been conducted to prepare the private sector organisations for the upcoming law. To mitigate the risk of anti-competitive behaviour and enhance consumer protection in the telecommunications market, AITI has also introduced new regulatory measures in February 2023.

Empowering the Digital Industry

As part of AITI’s commitment to developing a thriving digital industry, AITI continues to enhance digital capacity programmes to empower the ICT manpower and introduce initiatives to stimulate the digital transformation among the industry.

‘Coding with Smart Devices for Government Schools’ pilot project and are part of AITI’s initiatives to enhance coding skills development throughout the different layers of the nation from students to youth jobseekers. These programmes, executed in collaboration with relevant ministry and agencies, are aimed to instil interest in coding and make them more employable and industry-ready.

In encouraging digital transformation among the different vertical industry sectors in the nation, AITI embarked on a Smart Farm pilot project in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood in early 2023. This project allows farmers to experience the practical usage of Internet of Things (IOT) devices for monitoring and remote control as well as do data analytics based on the data from the devices for better decisionmaking.

Through the Brunei Content Festival (BCF), one of the initiatives under AITI’s role in developing the broadcasting industry, AITI also aspires to nurture local talents and celebrate achievements of content creators in developing highquality digital content to be commercial viable for distribution on television, Over-the-Top (OTT) providers as well as social media and other digital platforms. Hosted annually by AITI, the BCF serves as a catalyst for innovation and creativity for content creators, producers, directors and filmmakers.

Fostering Digital Inclusion

In its efforts to create a digital society that is accessible to all, AITI commenced the Digital for All programme since November 2022, which aims to improve capacity development and adoption of digital technologies, and boost ICT usage in the daily lives of the identified communities including senior citizens. As of March 2023, about 100 participants took part in the programme comprising members of Senior Citizens Activity Centres (PKWE), welfare communities, and Village Consultative Councils (MPK) throughout all four districts. In conjunction with International Girls in ICT Day 2023, AITI organised a dialogue session to inspire girls and young women to pursue ICT education and careers with more than 80 participants in attendance. Panellists discussed the nation’s contribution to digital skills for the alignment of ICT supply with industry demand, as well as the opportunities and challenges for girls and young women to improve their ICT skills.

Uplifting the Community

As part of its social responsibility, AITI in March 2023 organised a Ramadhan Food Donation Drive. AITI employees contributed to this special event by preparing, cooking, packing and distributing iftar meals, as well as donating basic household necessities and financial aid to those in need. AITI presented two new laptops and one new printer to PKWE to support their members’ digital capabilities as well. AITI has also presented a donation to the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei in August 2023.

AITI will continue to strive towards achieving the vision of transforming Brunei Darussalam into a Connected Smart Nation through the development of a thriving digital industry, a connected nation, and a digitally-enriched society.


Datastream Digital Sdn Bhd (DST) has emerged as a pioneering digital company that is leading the charge in transforming the nation’s telecommunications landscape. Having been part of the legacy companies in telecommunications, DST has undergone a remarkable transformation, transitioning first to a tech company and now a digital powerhouse with a focus on creating strategic revenue streams and providing cutting-edge digital services to its customers.

It’s the ‘Uberisation of DST’ as described by Chief Executive Officer Radin Sufri bin Radin Basiuni, and signifies the company’s shift towards a platformbased model, akin to global industry giants such as Uber and Alibaba. This transformation has revolutionised DST’s operations, moving away from traditional infrastructure ownership towards a more asset-light approach.

With the advent of shared technologies from mobile, fibre to data centre solutions, the company has embraced a new way of conducting business. This has led to digitalisation, particularly in the ordering process for services, making DST’s operations more efficient and adaptable to changing market demands.

DST’s transformation journey has been characterised by three distinct phases. Initially, the company operated as a telco, relying on manual processes. In 2020, DST transitioned into a tech company, digitalising all front-end operations. Now, DST is on track to becoming a fully digital company within the next five years, a strategic move that is set to create new revenue streams and solidify its position as a digital leader in the industry.

One of the pivotal moments in DST’s transformation was the shift from being a telco to a tech company, which involved digitalising the order portal, enabling customers to order services online. This move underscored DST’s foresight that everything, including fibre, mobile postpaid, and prepaid services, has become digital, accessible to customers with a simple click through the MyDST app.

In 2020, DST took a significant step towards its digital transformation by migrating its core systems to the cloud, a move that was pivotal in laying the groundwork for its future digital endeavours.

Subsequently, in 2021, DST achieved several milestones, including the introduction of the MyDST app and the launch of the mobile and fixed convergence system, further cementing its position as a tech-savvy company at the forefront of innovation.

In 2022, DST shifted its focus to innovation, introducing 16888 as a new way for customers to access its services. This move exemplifies DST’s commitment to providing omnichannel access to its customers, allowing them to interact with DST through various channels.

As part of its digital journey, DST also launched the MyDST bill app and the MyDST Shop features, offering customers a one-stop marketplace for settling bills, services as well as other items such as electronics, food and utilities.

Behind the front-end services lies DST’s robust backend systems, developed in collaboration with Multisys Technologies Corporation (Multisys), a Philippine-based software solutions delivery centre and a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). This partnership underscores DST’s evolution beyond just being a digital company, as it facilitates the development of a homegrown made-in-Brunei system to power their expanding services, making DST as a more holistic provider, operating and owning its platforms, end to end.

This ultimately came to fruition this year with the launch of its ‘Made in Brunei’ Digital Telco Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system used to support DST’s omnichannel.

DST’s focus on reskilling its workforce has also been instrumental in its transformation into a digital company. With 15 local developers and a digital and IT team comprising 40 per cent of its workforce, DST has invested in developing local talent, ensuring that it has the expertise needed for its digital transformation. This approach aligns with DST’s vision of not just being about business but also about building local talent and capacity.

DST’s transformation has been marked by significant milestones, including its dominance in the mobile market with a 75 per cent market share and rapid growth in the fibre market, capturing 80 per cent of greenfield opportunities.

Additionally, DST has managed to keep its operational expenses below industry benchmarks, showcasing its efficiency and agility in the market. DST’s transformation highlights the power of digitalisation and the potential for growth and innovation in the telecommunications industry in Brunei Darussalam. As DST continues to evolve its digital services and enhance its digital presence, the company is poised to lead the way in shaping the future of telecommunications, providing customers with innovative solutions and unparalleled digital experiences.

Previous article
Next article


Brunei Press Publications