The price war in Myanmar’s telecoms industry has intensified as the two foreign players stepped up their efforts to dominate the market with cheaper internet packages.
The latest battle took place on May 26 when Qatar’s Ooredoo announced that it would cut its 3G internet charge from Ks10 per MB to Ks6 for non-contract customers.
Ross Cormack, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar, announced at a press conference: “Our new 3G internet named ‘Phalan Phalan Internet’ will be available from midnight. You don’t need to pay a registration fee to activate it.”
Undoubtedly, the move was to steal clients from Norway’s Telenor Myanmar, its main competitor.
It offers two kinds of mobile data, namely the “My Internet Plan” and “Smart Internet”. The former charges at Ks6 per MB while the latter Ks10 per MB on a contract-free basis.
A few hours after the Ooredoo press conference, Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg announced that the “My Internet Plan” charge would be lowered to Ks5 per MB.
“People can always trust that Telenor will have the most affordable voice and internet services, with the simplest and most transparent price plans, and a network that will reach as many cities, towns and villages as possible within the next three to four years,” said Furberg.
The nation’s oldest provider, Myanma Posts and Telecommunications, already reduced data service for its Swe Tha Har users from Ks15 per MB to Ks7.5 per MB as an unlimited promotion programme.
Ooredoo is also offering sweeter deals for consumers.
The company has four types of monthly internet packs on offer. Among them, the most popular package is a 500MB pack which costs Ks3,900. It costs Ks6,900 for the 1GB plan while Ks12,900 and Ks29,900 will be charged for the 2GB and 5GB packs.
According to Thiri Kyar Nyo, Ooredoo’s spokesman, the company’s internet packages were halving in price.
Those who buy 50MB daily internet pack at Ks390 will be allowed to use 100MB. Likewise, for all the internet packs, ranging from 500MB to 5GB, the usage will be automatically doubled.
According to the new prices, users can enjoy 2GB of internet for Ks6,900.
“This will be a very good news for those who surf the internet a lot, as 1MB will be charged at less than Ks3 if customers buy the Ks29,900 package. We are very delighted to provide high-speed 3G internet at the cheapest price,” said Thiri Kyar Nyo.
Telenor also cut the price of its ‘Smart Internet’ plan, which offers speeds of up to 2 megabytes per second, to Ks6 per MB from the previous price of Ks10.
Weekly and monthly ‘My Internet’ packs are also priced at Ks500 for 110MB and Ks1,900 for 500MB. There are two ‘Smart Internet’ plans, priced at Ks6,600 for 1.25GB and Ks11,900 for 2.4 GB.
The ‘My Internet’ plan is pre-enabled for all SIMs and available for all customers the moment they become a Telenor customer. To activate the ‘Smart Internet’ plan, customers need only text “smart” to 500. Customers only pay for what is used.
“Myanmar’s telecoms sector is rapidly evolving, and we estimate that approximately 65 per cent of subscribers in the country are on smartphones. Within our own base of 6.4 million customers, 65 per cent are data users and close to 60 per cent are smartphone users. Our new internet price plans both reflect the growing appetite for data in Myanmar and is aimed at stimulating further internet adoption and usage. With this new pricing, Telenor’s customers can now enjoy the lowest internet rates on the fastest growing data network in Myanmar,” Furberg said.
Last month, Ooredoo launched its services in Kachin State’s Mogaung, Lashio and Myitkyina in addition to expansion and upgrading of its network in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions.
Cormack said that Ooredoo planned to cover 75.5 per cent of Myanmar’s population by the end of this year. By March 31, Ooredoo’s network coverage reached 41.2 per cent of the population. By the end of 2014, it reached only 34.6 per cent.
Telenor’s service now covers 10 major divisions and states, namely Mandalay, Yangon, Sagaing, Bago, Magway, Ayeyarwady, Kayin, Mon and Kachin and Nay Pyi Taw. The company has recently announced plans for expansion to Shan, Kayah and Tanintharyi.
According to Cormack, Ooredoo has built more than 1,800 towers in 212 townships in Myanmar and it is providing 3G data services with 5,000km of fibre-optic cable. As of March 31, there were apparently more than 3.3 million Ooredoo SIM card users.
Telenor now has over 2,000 towers nationwide – 99 per cent of these are equipped with 3G capabilities. It is expected to roll out between 3,000 and 4,000 more towers by the end of 2015. Since September 2014, Telenor has expanded its network to more than 50 per cent of the population and townships.
“Apart from expanding coverage we are also focused on adding capacity and optimising quality in areas where we are already present. We are working hard to improve the quality of our network in the cities: in Yangon we have doubled the number of towers to more than 700 from 348 at the launch in October last year, while in Mandalay we now have 345 towers turned on, from 70 at the point of launch in September 2014. In February, we also opened a fibre-optic link to Thailand, which continues to deliver significant improvement in data connectivity and enhances our ability to deliver a quality experience on our network,” Furberg added.
Source: Eleven Media