High rents holding back telecoms firms, claims CEO

Telecommunications companies are struggling to secure initial capital investment and cope with extortionate rents, said CEO Tun Thura Thet from Myanmar Information Technology (MIT) during an Asean business forum.

“Land and rental prices in Myanmar are higher than those in Silicon Valley in the United States. It is depends on the location. If an office is in midtown, the price is high. I am not blaming anyone, I am just saying the government needs to lower land prices to enable telecommunication companies to establish,” he said.

“The land prices are reasonable for the big companies but are a huge burden for small firms. The process for setting up companies needs to be easy. Other countries have a single window system making the process easy. When I inquired about the expense to hold the forum, I heard that it would cost Ks 1.5 million. It may be right,” Tun Thura Thet added.

“We want the process to be easier and accessible. A company can be set up within 15 minutes in Singapore at a cost of S$200-300. It should be the same here. There may be some companies who can complete the process quicker. What I mean is to reduce the time and expense for the small companies,” he said.

The CEO added: “We need people to have universal access in remote areas like the Kachin and Mon states. We want mobile internet to be easy to access and cheap with coverage reaching remote areas. The companies sell SIM cards but their network is only in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. They need to expand the network to other areas. The speed of the internet depends on the technology they use for 3G or 4G networks. For example, if people could use a 3G network or make phone calls, imagine how much GDP would increase. If people use them, it is good for the country. We have to encourage telecoms firms to offer the internet. It could develop the whole country.”


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