International telecoms giants have been roped into a pageant as they jostle for two operating licenses in Myanmar ahead of final bids in June, following an announcement from the government on Monday that the winners will be selected through a ‘beauty contest method’.
The government has hired Roland Berger, Munich-based strategy consultants that employ a network of some 240 partners worldwide, to map out selection criteria for the competition.
Roland Berger’s Principal in Singapore, Damien Dujacquier, said at a government-held press conference that the two winning telecoms firms will be selected based on a 67 percent technical score and a 33 percent financial score, as the international lineup struts the catwalk for an untapped market of 60 million customers.
The technical score, comprising a sum of 1,000 points, is split into eight categories, including network roll-out, customer care and social responsibility. The financial score, comprising a sum of 500 points, is only evaluated on the license fee offer.
The duration of the licenses will be 15 years, with a possibility of a 10-year renewal.
The winners of the operating licenses will be announced on June 27 and plans will be finalized by the end of September. Government-owned Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), the sole telecoms operator in Myanmar, will become the third mobile operator and service provider Yatanarpon Teleport, now an arm of MPT, will become the fourth.
Per the licensing agreement, the winners must have their commercial launch no later than nine months after the effective date of the license in August or September.
Twelve players pre-qualified for the licenses on April 11. The world’s two largest mobile operators, Vodafone and China Mobile, formed a consortium and post the highest annual revenue out of all the applicants at US$75 billion a year.
France Telecom Orange and Marubeni come next, at $57.5 billion a year, followed by KDDI, Sumitomo, MICTDS and A1—a consortium of Myanmar and Japanese companies—at $43.5 billion a year.
Dr. Set Aung, the chairman of the telecoms selection committee, announced at the conference that the government would renege on an a promise made by President Thein Sein in March over a national radio broadcast to reach 80 percent mobile penetration in Myanmar by 2015. Instead, he said, the government’s new goal is to reach 50 percent mobile penetration countrywide by 2015.