Myanmar to offer additional telecom licenses

Myanmar will offer more telecom licenses in the future to “increase competition” in the telecom sector following its groundbreaking offering of two telecom licenses this year, a top government official said, according to Indian media reports.

“Awarding these telecom licenses is a priority. Since there was limited spectrum, we are currently looking at awarding only two licenses,” Thaung Tin, deputy minister for communications and information technology, was quoted in HT Media. “However, going forward we plan to award more licenses to increase competition.”

After the award of 2 telco licence to Telenor and Ooredoo – the government is also planning to invite tender bids for providing internet services and building a nationwide fiber optic network following’ the telecom licenses.”

There are lots of opportunities in Myanmar’s telecom sector. While we have called for tenders for the two telecom licenses, our plan is to invite participation for providing internet services,” Thaung Tin added. “Also, there is a huge requirement of fiber roll-out, for which we plan to call the tenders after the award of the telecom licenses.”

Telecommunications in Myanmar is currently controlled by state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications, and internet services are provided by Yatanarpon Teleport. Myanmar has 14,000 kilometer of fiber network and some 1,800 telecom masts, according to Telecomlead.

There is a need for an additional 15,000 telecom towers and thousands of kilometers of fiber optic infrastructure in the country, according to a recent Deloitte report on Myanmar’s telecommunications sector.

Myanmar is one of the last countries to open up its telecom sector. Less than 10 percent, or 5.4 million of its 60 million populations, have a phone subscription. The government has set a target of connecting 75-80 percent of the people by 2015-16. Less than 1 percent of Myanmar’s population has access to the internet.

Myanmar needs $650 billion of investment by 2030 to support its economic growth, according to a report by consulting firm McKinsey. Of this, $320 billion is required in infrastructure, including $45-50 billion in telecommunication.

To reassure foreign investors, Myanmar has recently promised to set up an independent telecom watchdog.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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