Upbeat Telenor Myanmar expects further growth next year

TELENOR Myanmar maintains its optimism about the market outlook despite the possible entry of a fourth telecom player in 2016.

Still in the roll-out phase, the company, which claims to own the biggest third-generation cellular network in Myanmar, has set its sights on expanding in less populated areas next year. “In 2015, our focus was mainly on improving our network and quality. We have built the strongest and biggest 3G network. One hundred per cent of our network [is] 3G. We will focus a lot on providing affordable and faster Internet service. For next year, we will be expanding outside the cities,” Petter Furberg, chief executive officer of Telenor Myanmar, told a recent press conference. Three thousand more towers will be built and the number of points of sale will be expanded from more than 55,000.

Telenor’s network today covers all states and regions but Chin State, for 60 per cent of population. The customer base is expected show a slower growth rate. When the service was launched in Yangon, Telenor welcomed 521,000 customers in one day.

Furberg said data usage had seen tremendous growth, as more than 60 per cent of subscribers in Myanmar are smartphone users. Within its own base of more than 12 million subscribers, 57 per cent are active data users – the second-highest among Telenor markets in Asia, behind only Malaysia.

“What we have seen in Myanmar is very much like Thailand. The active user ratio is so high,” Furberg said. Yet this ratio will fall as the service is expanded to rural areas where voice usage is more popular.

“Though the telecom sector is relatively young, we observe that customers have significantly grown in sophistication, and continue to look for value and diversity in their preferred service provider. This makes dynamic pricing mechanisms highly relevant today.” The company’s latest promotion charges only 1 kyat (less than 3 satang) per megabyte for data and 1 kyat per minute for voice calls made between 11pm and 7am.

Myanmar is set to welcome a fourth provider of cellular services next year. Foreign companies have been invited| to join a consortium of 11 local companies that will be awarded the fourth licence.

Source: Myanmar Eleven

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