Fourth Telco Licence in The Offing

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has invited proposals from local public companies to provide telecommunications services jointly with a foreign firm in the country.

This is the fourth telecom licence being offered by the authorities after Myanmar liberalised its telecommunications sector last year by dishing out operating licences to two foreign operators – Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor. The other licence is held by state-backed Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), which formed a joint venture with two Japanese firms KDDI and Sumitomo last year.

“The main objective of inviting the proposal is to bring a public company in the sector and create more competition so that we can reach international standards and provide better service. This move will also even out the number of local and foreign operators,” U Chit Wai, a director at MCIT, told Myanmar Business Today.

“We have three operators in the country and that is probably sufficient. But we would like to give people more choices,” he added.

Thiri Kyar Nyo, Ooredoo Myanmar’s public and community relations senior manager, told Myanmar Business Today, “More operators mean more competition, so the service will get better. Customers will have more options to choose from and that’s good for the people.”

The MCIT offer will be part of a special purpose vehicle, for which a Myanmar firm would first be selected, while a foreign partner would be sought later, according to a Reuters report.

An applicant firm will have to have registered capital of at least K3 billion ($2.4 million) and proposals have to be submitted by August 24, the ministry announcement said.

Myanmar’s mobile phone penetration rate even four years ago was less than 1 percent, putting it behind North Korea. With MPT’s monopoly over the market, SIM cards used to cost more than a thousand dollars, severely prohibiting the public to use mobile telecommunications services.

According to the three operators’ claims as of late July, MPT now has 18 million subscribers, while Telenor has 10 million and Ooredoo 4.25 million, putting the mobile penetration rate at over 60 percent in the country.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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