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, experts said.

The change raises the issue of whether the lower number will have any impact on Telenor and Ooredoo, whose business plans are based on the larger population number.

Telenor’s VP for communications, Tor Odland, told Mobile World Live that going into Myanmar it was always aware that there was considerable risk in areas such as institutional capacity and regulatory frameworks, including uncertainty in the area of population metrics.

“In the short and long term, the results from the census have limited impact on our plans. We have a 15-year licence in Myanmar, and with our network roll-out just about to commence, we take a long-term view of the market opportunity,” Odland said.

Ooredoo Myanmar representative Thiri Kyar Nyo said it’s “business as usual for us. The country’s pent-up demand for mobile communication services has not been underestimated.”

The census also found that 30 per cent of the population now lives in urban areas – higher than the 25 per cent that most people mention – and that the country has almost two million more women than men.


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