Telenor Myanmar is set to switch on in Mandalay

Telenor Myanmar is ready to sell millions of SIM cards in order to avoid a shortage and prevent black-market sales, as the service will kick off tomorrow in Mandalay.

“Our SIM cards will be available in more than 1,500 stores in Mandalay … All SIM cards can be used at 11am on Saturday. Within weeks we will be available in more than 12,000 outlets in the three main cities,” Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg told a press conference late yesterday.

“Everything is ready. Every SIM card comes with voice, SMS, Internet, etc. Also roaming is enabled from the start. It is important when you travel you can immediately use roaming if that country has signed an agreement with Telenor,” Furberg said.

It will limit sales to one per customer per shop and use a distribution network of more than 1,500 outlets to sell them for its Mandalay launch, Furberg said.

“Telenor will not run out of SIM cards … There is no reason to panic,” he told Myanmar Eleven, while explaining how the Norwegian operator plans to prevent black-market sales of its SIM cards.

“Any customer in Myanmar will be able to buy only one SIM card at a shop. In Mandalay alone, we will have more than 1,500 shops selling our SIM cards. So if one shop is tricky and tries to cheat you just go to one of the other 1,499 shops,” he said.

Customers will need to provide identification – a National Registration Card, driver’s licence, passport, student card or a recommendation certificate of a village or ward head – and will be limited to three SIM cards under that identification, he said, adding that each SIM card will have to be purchased at a separate shop.

Although it is offering its SIM cards at the same price as its rivals – Ooredoo Myanmar and MPT – it will charge just Ks 25 per minute to call and Ks 15 to send an SMS to any number in the country. Top-up cards will be sold at four prices: Ks 1,000, Ks 3,000, Ks 5,000 and Ks 10,000.

Two Internet packages will be offered: MY Internet and SMART Internet. The former will cost Ks 1,500 per month for 500 megabytes, while the latter will cost Ks 6,600 per month for 1 gigabyte. Additional fees will be Ks 6 per MB on MY Internet, which will have a speed of up to 300 kilobits per second, and 10 Ks per MB on SMART Internet, which will have a speed of up to 2 megabits per second.

Telenor will mimic Ooredoo by offering free access to Facebook for a limited time, but will be the first in Myanmar to offer free access to Wikipedia.

Furberg stressed that roaming services would be available for all Telenor customers from day one. Although there are only five countries where such service can be used at the launch, the number will be increased monthly, he said. Furberg said roaming rates would be “very cheap”, and said they – as well as the countries the service will cover – will be announced tomorrow.

Furberg said Mandalay had been selected for the launch because it was easier to get building permits [for telecom towers] and the weather was better than in Yangon, where monsoon season made it more difficult to work outside. “We are trying to cover every township and ward before we turn on. It is more challenging for us to be very good in Yangon,” he said.

“In Yangon, many people use a lot of data. We are not going to turn on in Yangon before we are ready. The SIM cards sold in Mandalay will not work in Yangon before we turn on there,” said Furberg, adding that testing will be done in both Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw before Telenor launches in the cities.

He declined to say how many telecom towers Telenor had in Myanmar, but said it had 70 in Mandalay for the launch.

‘No need to panic’

“Telenor will not run out of SIM cards … There is no reason to panic,” Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg told Myanmar Eleven, while explaining how the Norwegian operator plans to prevent black market sales of its SIM cards.

It will limit sales to one per customer per shop and use a distribution network of more than 1,500 outlets to sell them for its Mandalay launch, Furberg said.

“Any customer in Myanmar will be able to buy only one SIM card at a shop. In Mandalay alone, we will have more than 1,500 shops selling our SIM cards. So if one shop is tricky and tries to cheat you just go to one of the other 1,499 shops,” he said.

Customers will need to provide identification – a National Registration Card, driver’s licence, passport, student card or a recommendation certificate of a village or ward head – and will be limited to three SIM cards under that identification, he said, adding that each SIM card will have to be purchased at a separate shop.

Telenor is also offering two low-cost mobile handsets, an entry level second-generation phone and entry level smart phone, for Ks 19,900 and Ks 49,900 respectively. Both include Internet bonus time. Furberg also said Telenor’s Internet speed would be swifter than MPT’s even though it would use MPT’s fiber optic line. “We have provided extra equipment to upgrade the capacity. We may use the same fiber line, but the capacity has been significantly increased,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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