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Mytel fined for anti-competitive behaviour in Myanmar market

The Posts and Telecommunications Department (PTD) has issued a fine of nearly US$200,000 (K300 million) and two warnings to military-backed telecom operator Telecom International Myanmar (Mytel) for violating its rules and regulations after January 1. It also issued two other warnings to two operators for similar offences.

Mytel, the fourth operator in Myanmar, was given two warnings under Telecommunication Law section 57(a), in May and June, and a K300 million fine for violating the Pricing and Tariff Regulatory Framework, in March, an equivalent to 5 percent of the operator’s income under licencing rule section 41(a)(3), and business licence section 4.7(d)(iii), according to the PTD’s announcement last Thursday.

Telenor Myanmar and Amara Communications, which owns Ananda 4G+, were both given warnings, in May and June, under telecom law section 57(a) for violating of the Pricing and Tariff Regulatory Framework and utilising microwave link without approval, respectively.

The two warnings to Mytel were made as the operator failed to abide by one of the licencing rules and provide accurate site data when calculating coverage and breached the rules included in the Pricing and Tariff Regulatory Framework.

U Tha Oo, deputy minister of Transport and Communications, told Pyidaungsu Hluttaw [Assembly of the Union] in February that the government is hardpressed to take action against telecom operators that impose surcharges on customers, as shutting them down even for just an hour could hamper communications in the country. Although the companies are charging subscribers more than they should, no charges have been filed against them, he said.

U Zaw Min Oo, chief external relations officer of Mytel Company, told The Irrawaddy that the “K300 million fine” and the warning in June were imposed because the company offered free SIM cards to attract customers when they entered the market.

Launched last June, Mytel is 49pc owned by Viettel, a Vietnamese enterprise wholly owned and operated by Vietnam’s Defence Ministry. Twenty-eight percent of Mytel’s shares are owned by Star High, a subsidiary of the Myanmar Economic Corp, a conglomerate owned by Tatmadaw (military). The remaining 23pc belongs to Myanmar National Telecom Holding, a consortium of 11 local companies.

Mytel said it had 5 million subscribers on January 31, garnering the telecommunications company a market share of 10 percent in just seven months, U Zaw Min Oo told The Myanmar Times during an interview in February.

He said the company is expecting to double its market share and user base over the next two years by expanding its services in rural areas such as northern Shan and Rakhine as well as the Wa self-administered region. Over the period, Mytel will also double its investment in Myanmar to US$2 billion.

Myanmar has a total of four telecos – MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo, and Mytel – with a total of more than 57 million subscribers.

Of Viettel’s 10 international markets, Myanmar is the largest and has the highest potential for growth. Earlier this year, Lê Đăng Dũng, chair of Viettel, said that Myanmar’s telecommunications market was unusual and the country still has growth potential. He rated Myanmar as one of Viettel’s most promising markets.

Source: Myanmar Times

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