Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents



In mid-1994 the Lao telecommunications system was rudimentary, with a telephone system that serves primarily government offices and broadcast facilities in only a few large towns. In 1986 there were approximately 8,000 telephones for the entire country, or fewer than 2 telephones per 1,000 people. There reportedly was a substantial expansion of telephone lines in Vientiane beginning in 1989, but no updated figures were available.

One powerful amplitude modulation (AM) station is located in Vientiane; the other nine AM stations are low-powered transmitters scattered in other cities. Seven shortwave stations broadcasting in six tribal languages reach remote areas, including one that broadcasts in Cambodian, French, Thai, and Vietnamese to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. The capital also has two lower-power television transmitters and one frequency modulation (FM) station. The number of radios increased from 350,000 in 1980 to 520,000 in 1990.

The first domestic television service was established in 1983, and the second, in 1988, broadcasting from Savannakhét. Southern Laos receives transmissions from Thailand, and all of Laos receives satellite-relayed transmissions from a ground satellite station linked to Intersputnik from the former Soviet Union. There were about 31,000 television sets in 1990.

International communications improved greatly with the installation in 1990 of a new satellite ground station. In 1991 agreements were concluded with China and France to relay their broadcasts to Laos by satellite.

Data as of July 1994