Telenor looks to make impact in Myanmar

Norway-based Telenor Group announced on Friday that it hopes to win the government’s telecommunications tender after submitting its bid in June, based on the company’s record success of securing the fastest mobile network rollout in India of 600 million consumers in six months.

Telenor Group held a press conference at Traders Hotel in Yangon on April 26, 2013, to lay out its plan for the Myanmar telecoms market. Mizzima Telenor Group’s executive vice-president and head of Asian operations Sigve Brekke said during a press conference that if it secures a license to operate, a country-wide rollout “will not be a gradual process, but instead [Telenor] will provide access to the market as soon as possible.”

Telenor’s Asian operations are headquartered in Bangkok. In Asia, the company operates in Thailand (dtac), Malaysia (DiGi), India (Uninor), Bangladesh (Grameenphone), and Pakistan (Telenor).

Telenor plans to sell SIM cards for free—or with a minimal charge of about 20 kyat (US$0.02)—and offer its phone service by a pay-per-minute plan. The company also plans to make communications accessible by establishing a high volume of points of sales throughout the country.

“We never want a customer to be living more than a few hundred meters from a retailer,” Brekke said.

It will take six months to roll out the network and six months to roll out distribution from receiving the license, Brekke said. He added that Telenor will start with an emphasis on rural areas, where little communication is available.

Telenor is currently in discussion with various local universities to co-sponsor training programs for employment at Telenor and design a new degree in telecom service.

“We need young people in Myanmar to help us understand the market and understand how the youth are thinking,” he said.

As per the government’s license conditions, the two telecoms companies that win permission to enter Myanmar must each cover 75 percent of the country on voice and 50 percent on data.

Telenor was one of 12 telecoms firms that pre-qualified for the government tender on April 11. The shortlisted candidates include the world’s two biggest mobile operators, China Mobile Ltd and Vodafone Group.

Telenor Group began operating in Asia in 1997 and currently serves 135 million subscribers in the region.

Source: Mizzima

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