Former Norway Envoy’s Telenor Move Raises Eyebrows

The relationship between Myanmar and Norway has transformed in recent years; one of the most devout supporters of Myanmar’s democratic opposition movement has warmed considerably to the quasi-civilian government that assumed power in 2011, largely comprising members of the former military regime. The friendship has proven to be mutually beneficial, as Norway has enjoyed a number of coveted business licenses in once-closed, largely unexplored, resource-rich Myanmar. On the event of the first … [Read more...]

Myanmar’s digital present and future

The terrain of Myanmar’s Internet has changed fundamentally within the space of a year. But amidst the commotion over the recent launches of the first international-led private mobile phone networks inside Myanmar, other significant changes have gone relatively unnoticed. In the space of a year, the size of Myanmar’s domestic Internet – the number of companies and organisations who are hosting websites inside the country – has tripled. In September 2013, the number of locally hosted websites … [Read more...]

Myanmar Start Up Guide for E-Entrepreneurs

Harald Friedl tells you all you need to know to set up shop in Myanmar — Asia’s new frontier market Myanmar. The Myanmar Startup Guide is an attempt to describe the emerging startup space in Myanmar. From a closed, military-dominated, bureaucratic environment, Myanmar is very quickly embracing an openness to business, and firms, both large and small, have a multitude of opportunities in this young market. We have summarised the top 10 takeaways from the Guide. You can read the full report … [Read more...]

Phone Smuggling Goes Unabated as SIM Card Sales Soar

Amid rapid network expansion and increasing SIM card sales from Myanmar’s three telecom players, legally imported mobile handsets are slim in number in a market overwhelmed by smuggled devices, a government official said. Mobile handsets entering the country via air, sea or overland channels were previously subject to 10 percent custom tariff, 5 percent commercial tax and 2 percent advance income tax but the custom tariff has been cut to 5 percent this year to encourage legal … [Read more...]

Myanmar’s economy on a growth path

Ho mere piyaa gaye Yangon, kiya hai wahan se telephoon (My beau, away in Yangon, has telephoned me),” sang Nigar Sultana joyously in the 1949 Hindi film Patanga. The heroine was thrilled that her beau Gope was able to speak to her, in Dehra Dun, from a trunk line in Yangon, Myanmar. It was a superhit and immortal number and even the smartphone-empowered youth today sing it. If the scene was to be shot today, it may not be as exciting as it was then. Because nowadays mobile telephones connect … [Read more...]

Digital ventures in Myanmar

It’s difficult to imagine a country of 62 million people today with a population at large that’s been starved of the internet. It’s just as hard to think of any state – especially one within Asia, a continent where technology is king – where mobile phone uptake is only just beginning. That is the case in Myanmar, which is “discovering” the internet en masse and is only now turning on its very first affordable mobile phones, says Phil Morle, chief executive of Pollenizer, the Sydney-based … [Read more...]

When a SIM Card Goes From $2,000 to $1.50

Five years ago, buying a cell phone SIM card in Myanmar could set you back more than $2,000. It was an extravagance available only to the rich and well-connected—and even they couldn’t buy good reception. At the time, the country was just beginning to emerge from decades of isolation imposed by its military dictatorship. Only North Korea had fewer cell phones per capita. As the former Burma shifted to a nominally civilian government, its monopolistic state-owned carrier, Myanmar Post and … [Read more...]

Ooredoo and Telenor play down impact of lower Myanmar population

Myanmar’s population is almost nine million, or 15 per cent, lower than previously estimated, according to the latest government figures released on Saturday. The country’s Ministry of Immigration and Population’s provisional census data indicate a population of 51.4 million people – not 60-61 million. The national census was the first since 1983. The final census is not expected to be released until next May, and the fully analysed data could differ slightly from the preliminary results, … [Read more...]

Big leap in Communication

Myanmar’s telecommunications sector is poised for sharp growth with the entry into the market of two foreign operators and the government’s Myanma Post and Telecommunications planning a US$2 billion upgrade with a Japanese partner. Qatari-owned Ooredoo launched its commercial network on August 15, focusing on delivering 3G technology to provide faster internet and higher quality call connections to mobile users. 3G technology has a shorter range than 2G but can serve a high density of users, … [Read more...]

Telenor uncovers child labour usage in Myanmar network build

Telenor discovered that contractors constructing its new mobile network in Myanmar have been using child labour to develop base station sites in advance of the operator's launch of commercial services in the country in September. In a presentation on Telenor's Myanmar sustainability update, the company said it found three incidents of child labour being used in the build of sites around the country, despite having implemented strict guidelines on the use of underage labour. Underage labour … [Read more...]