Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) aims to sign a partnership agreement with Japanese mobile services provider KDDI Corporation by the end of the month, according to government officials.
KDDI will be the operator of state-owned MPT under the agreement, said U Than Tun Aung, a director from the Ministry’s Posts and Telecommunications Department.
“The process has been delayed for many months because so many steps are required to negotiate with MPT, since it is a state-owned business,” he said. “The agreement is going to be signed at the end of the month.”
MPT is currently Myanmar’s sole mobile operator, though the market is expected to become more competitive, as a total of four providers could be operating by the end of the year. Foreign-owned Telenor and Ooredoo are planning launch this year and majority state-owned Yadanarpon Teleport (YTP) is also to be granted a license.
MPT invited France’s Orange Group, KDDI, and Singapore’s SingTel to begin discussions on partnering in a letter last September, after the three firms lost out on licensing.
While U Aung Maw, the former head of MPT, retired due to health reasons last month, its new managing director U Kyaw Soe Win said that discussions with a future partner were still ongoing.
“We will make an official announcement when the time comes,” he said. “We are not hiding anything in this process.”
KDDI officials had not returned request for comment as of May 10.
KDDI is Japan’s second-largest mobile service provider. It claimed to have generated operating income of 663 billion yen (US$6.5 billion) with operating revenues of 4.3 trillion yen (US$42 billion) for the fiscal year ending in April, according to its annual report.
YTP is also in discussions to attract a foreign partner, YTP CEO U Tin Win said.
The firm registered as a public company in December 2013, but has not yet received a license.
Although Myanmar has had only one mobile service provider, future competitors say the eager to make their mark in the industry.
Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg told The Myanmar Times on May 8 that the firm had assumed there would be four players in the market when they took part in the bidding process last year.
“We love competition and we think it’s great for the people in Myanmar that there is competition,” he said.
Telenor and Ooredoo were the two successful foreign bidders in a process that began with expressions of interest from 91 foreign firms, including KDDI.
The competition for two licences was held in 2013 as part of government efforts to boost adoption of mobile phone services by Myanmar’s population.
For more see on the future of Myanmar’s telecoms industry, see pages 2-3 in this week’s e-Living special report.
Source Myanmar Times