MPT in partnership talks

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Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) is in partnership talks with several international telecoms firms, including France Telecom, as future competitors Ooredoo and Telenor move closer to launching services in Myanmar.

MPT managing director U Aung Maw said it will become a corporation separate from the ministry and is in discussion to find a foreign partner to assist with its expansion.

“We are now in the preparation process discussing a joint venture agreement with a foreign giant,” he told the Myanmar Times on the sidelines of the Myanmar Connect 2013 conference in Nay Pyi Taw.

U Aung Maw did not confirm France Telecom by name, but said MPT held discussions with firms from France, Singapore, Japan, and other western countries.

Telenor and Ooredoo were selected as the two winners from 92 competitors to receive a mobile license during a bidding process earlier this year, with a consortium of France Telecom and Sumitomo finishing third. Domestic entities MPT and Yatanarpon Teleport Co (YTP) also posses mobile licenses, while MPT has the sole existing mobile infrastructure and customer base in Myanmar.

France Telecom senior vice president Dominique Espinasse told The Myanmar Times Orange has had contact with the government over a partnership in MPT.

“MPT is a key asset for [Myanmar]. So we think it’s very important for the government to focus on the role of MPT,” he said.

Although there is no timeline for signing a deal, Mr Espinasse said it is “urgent” MPT concludes a partnership soon, as Telenor and Ooredoo move closer to launching.

France Telecom’s executive vice president Alexandre Pébereau also announced an agreement with MPT to eventually allow its subscribers international roaming at the conference.

France Telecom operates the Orange mobile brand.

U Aung Maw said MPT for its part welcomes the potential for foreign partner as it will assist with the challenges of expanding.

“Right now MPT has a monopolistic right, but in the future it will not enjoy that right,” he said.

He added capital investment and industry best practices from a partner will assist the industry.

YTP for its part also expects to find a partner to assist it with a planned mobile rollout, said CEO U Tin Win.

He said the firm is looking at the possibility of a joint venture, merger, acquisition, or strategic alliance with an international firm.

The Union Parliament approval a new telecommunications law last month, and as of press time it is awaiting final approval from President U Thein Sein. Following the legislation’s approval, Telenor and Ooredoo will review the terms of the licenses before accepting them, and be expected to put up a performance bond.

Both Telenor and Oordeoo aim to launch services by next year, as their respective Myanmar heads Petter Furberg and Ross Cormack meeting each other for the first time in Nay Pyi Taw this week.

Following up Mr Cormack’s presentation, Mr Furberg said jokingly that “I will promise pretty much the same [as Ooredoo], but I will do it better.

Source: Myanmar Times

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