Myanmar plans telecoms boom, opens to foreign bids

Jan 15, 2013
Customers look at HTC handsets on display in a HTC mobile phone shop in Yangon on January 14, 2013. Myanmar on Tuesday announced plans for a dramatic increase in telephone and Internet access as it opened the door for foreign firms to enter one of Asia's last untapped markets.

Myanmar on Tuesday announced plans for a dramatic increase in telephone and Internet access as it opened the door for foreign firms to enter one of Asia's last untapped markets.

The communications and information technology ministry said it was launching tenders for two nationwide telecommunications service licences, to be awarded in the first half of this year.

It said it wanted both domestic and overseas operators to compete in the sector, seen as having major growth potential in a country where mobile phones are the preserve of a tiny proportion of the population.

The ministry said in a notice on its website the aim was to "make the available to the public at affordable prices, and to give the public the capability of choice".

The move is part of a plan to expand telephone penetration to between 75 and 80 percent by 2016, from the current level of around 10 percent.

Htay Win, chief engineer from the ministry's mobile department, told AFP the tender was open to foreign firms because "their experience in other countries means they are more capable".

Communications are seen as a key obstacle to development in , one of the world's . Mobile SIM cards cost from around $250 while the Internet is mainly the preserve of the urban elite.

Analyst Sachin Gupta, of Asian telecoms research at Nomura, said the target could be achieved if the terms and partners were right, but that the "devil will be in the detail".

"Given the lack of infrastructure in the country, this will be an uphill battle, but upside could be significant too," he said.

Companies are hungrily eyeing Myanmar after a number of international sanctions were eased or lifted in response to under a quasi-civilian government that took power in 2011.

Changes aimed at invigorating an economy ravaged by decades of military rule and have also been set in motion, including unifying the country's multiple exchange rates and passing a law to help smoothe foreign investment.

In a report in March Nomura called Myanmar "one of the last untapped telco markets in the region".

On Monday Taiwan's leading smartphone maker HTC opened its first store in Myanmar to sell handsets with Burmese-language characters.

Explore further: Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Myanmar aims to bring mobile and Internet to masses

Jul 10, 2012

Myanmar fired the starting gun in the process of liberalising its communications networks in a move that could finally bring mobile and Internet access to the masses and drive international investment.

Myanmar mulling satellite launch: Japan company

Sep 13, 2012

Myanmar is looking at launching a small Earth-observation satellite with Japanese aid, a company official said Thursday, as the country comes in from the cold after decades of isolation.

Recommended for you

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

6 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

13 hours ago

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

15 hours ago

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Netflix's Comcast deal improves quality of video

Apr 14, 2014

Netflix's videos are streaming through Comcast's Internet service at their highest speeds in the past 17 months now that Netflix is paying for a more direct connection to Comcast's network.

User comments : 0

More news stories

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.