Beginning in 1992 telephone owners were able to direct dial internationally, and private facsimile machines were permitted. In 2009, there were an estimated 103,100 mainline telephones and 4 million mobile phones in use.
All communications, including the radio network, are operated by the government. Regular radio broadcasts were begun from Vientiane in 1968 and are now carried by Lao National Radio. Most broadcasts are in Lao, but government news broadcasts are also in English, French, and other languages. Domestic television service from Lao National TV began in 1983; in addition, programs are available by satellite from the former USSR, and it is possible to pick up Thai broadcasts. As of 1999 there were 9 AM and 4 FM radio stations, and 4 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 148 radios and 52 television sets for every 1,000 people.
In 2009, there were 300,000 internet users.
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.003 million (2009)
general assessment: service to general public is improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: multiple service providers; mobile cellular usage growing very rapidly
international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China (2008)
3 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 2 government-operated and the other jointly-owned by the government and a Thai company; 22 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; relays from Hanoi provide access to a Vietnamese TV station; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 2 SW, and 2 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible (2008)
Internet country code: