ISP and Hosting Services
The main telecommunications provider is Maltacom PLC and there are already ten or more ISPs in Malta.
In October, 2002, the Government signed an agreement with Microsoft Corp under which they will together be exploring the possibility of converting Malta into a regional hub for information technology. The partnership will see the development of various IT sectors that will benefit including education, which is critical to any society, incubation of services built on Microsoft technology, and a research academy to foster the development of new software ventures in Malta.
“Having Microsoft in Malta proves that the government’s policy, for these last two years, is producing the desired results and is managing to create interest among the large companies. The government intends to create a long-term relationship with Microsoft,” said Minister for Justice and Local Councils, Dr Austin Gatt.
“Together with Microsoft, we have identified three projects that will be implemented immediately. Microsoft will be helping the government to combat piracy by providing their expertise and knowledge to law enforcing people. Besides, campaigns will be launched to make people aware of the need to respect copyright,” he added.
The second initiative is a Microsoft IT academy in Malta. This offers courses in various Microsoft technology and leads to certifications in various IT fields.
“Furthermore, another three projects have been identified for the long term. These are the creation of an incubator in Malta through which knowledge from Microsoft is transferred to the Maltese industry to develop together services built on Microsoft technology. This would be one of the best initiatives the country could obtain because it will provide the opportunity to develop business process which could be subsequently marketed abroad. Another long-term initiative is integrating the Maltese language on the Windows XP. Another project that will be explored is the further development of the dot net platform which is used throughout the world for web development,” said Dr Gatt.
In June, 2004, the Maltese government signed a more extensive strategic partnership deal with Microsoft which resulted in the US-based software giant providing support for the government's new information technology initiatives. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Information Technology, Austin Gatt and the chief executive officer for Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa, Jean Philippe Courtois and will lasted for five years. The agreement ensured that Microsoft provided assistance in the implementation of a number of initiatives in the field of e-government, security and education.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi observed that it would help Malta promote itself as an investment centre and spur economic growth. The agreement would also secure government departments favourable prices for software licences, thus helping to ease public expenditure, explained Dr Gatt.
"The ICT sector in Malta is set to play a vital role in building an export-oriented, knowledge-based economy. The government welcomes every effort that can drive ICT development forward and Microsoft has been at the forefront of these efforts," the IT Minster commented.
Meanwhile, Mr Courtois observed: "Still in its first weeks as a member of the European Union, Malta stands as an example to the other EU accession states in its embrace of the Lisbon Agenda's technology road map."
In December 2007, a consortium of Malta’s leading e-business organisations was created to help companies establishing a business presence in the jurisdiction.
The consortium, known as eBusinessMalta.com, was launched at the iGaming events held at St. Julian’s between November 27th and November 30th, 2007. It is made up of company and fiduciary services providers (CSB Group and eManagement Ltd), a hosting & co-location facilities provider (BMIT Ltd), an electronic-payment solution provider (iGlobal Payments (iGP) Ltd), a recruitment agency / portal (VacancyCentre.com, operated by CSB Group) and a law firm specialising in corporate and commercial law (Zammit & Associates - Advocates).
CSB Group (established in 1987) and eManagement Ltd. (member of the HBM Group, established in 1991, with offices in Curacao, the Netherlands and the BVI amongst others) assist companies with respect to their Set-up and Incorporation; Regulatory and Licensing Consultancy; Directorship and Management Services, Accounting and Secretarial Services; Back-Office and Support Services, and Fiduciary and Trustee Services.
BMIT Limited (established in 1995) provides hosting facilities for Internet based businesses, and has grown as a leading online gaming service provider in Europe. BMIT specialises in co-location in Malta for iGaming Operations.
Global Payments (iGP) Ltd, established in 2002, provides real time card payment transaction services over the internet whilst also assisting in bank account solutions.
VacancyCentre.com, operated by CSB Group, offers recruitment services to various local and international businesses, and also assists in residency and work permit applications and relocation to Malta.
Established in 2005, Zammit & Associates - Advocates, is a legal practice focusing on business law, with a predominantly international outlook. The firm’s strengths lie in the areas of financial services, e-commerce, intellectual property, contract law, gaming law, ship registration and employment law.
E-BusinessMalta.com was launched at the first ever iGaming events held in Malta, the iGaming InDepth 2007 (Bingo & Skill Games) and The World Poker Congress 2007. It is the intention of the consortium to visit various other eBusiness related events, including shows, conventions and fairs in London, Hannover, Chicago, Miami, and also Macau in Asia.
In September 2007, the Prime Minister of Malta, Lawrence Gonzi unveiled the masterplan for SmartCity Malta, a new self-sustained industry township for knowledge-based companies to be developed by Tecom, owners of Dubai-based SmartCity, in partnership with the Government of Malta. SmartCity Malta, located in Ricasoli, in the southern area of Malta’s Grand Harbour, seeks to build a knowledge-based industry cluster, primarily serving the ICT and media sectors. The main component of the masterplan is a commercial complex that provides over 100,000 square metres of intelligent office space. This complex forms the core business infrastructure for SmartCity Malta's knowledge-industry community.
Over 30% of the land for SmartCity Malta is open to the public, featuring green boulevards and avenues, an amphitheatre, a lagoon, a coastal route, and vista points on the edge of a coastal cliff. There are three urban squares and a main shopping parade, also a small-scale conference centre, as well as hotels, catering to the needs of the business community and visitors to the companies based there. The masterplan also features a residential complex. Around half of the residences will be located in the vicinity of the main shopping area, while the rest will consist of villas and townhouses stretching along a coastal footpath. Under the terms of the agreement, the Government of Malta has agreed to make available nearly 358,000 sq m of land to develop the knowledge-based township.
The final roof slab for the first office building was laid in April 2010 and on 10 October 2010 the first building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
SmartCity Malta will attract an investment of at least USD300 million, making this project the largest foreign investment initiative in the ICT sector in Malta.
The project will provide a substantial boost to Malta’s construction, hospitality, maritime, services and retail sectors. At today’s prices SmartCity Malta is expected by 2014 to be making an annual contribution of some EUR534 million (US$725 million) to Malta’s GDP. This makes SmartCity Malta the single greatest new contributor to Malta’s economy ever to have been secured through foreign direct investment.
SmartCity Malta is projected to generate 4% growth in the Maltese job market. According to the government, over an eight year period, SmartCity Malta will create 5,600 jobs with the possibility of increasing to more than 7,000, apart from the several hundred jobs created in the economy as a multiplier effect of the project. In addition to new jobs in Malta’s knowledge-industry, SmartCity Malta will bring about new employment opportunities in areas of administration, hospitality, retail, maintenance, security and logistics among others. The project is the largest job-creator under one roof in Malta’s history.
Construction of Phase II commenced in January 2011. Fareed Abdulrahman, SmartCity's CEO, explained that: "“Phase II is another major milestone at SmartCity Malta following the completion and inauguration of Phase I. We are well geared for the expected recovery of the world’s economy and confident that Malta will be the hub for ICT/media cluster developments in the Mediterranean region”.