MPT promises a new era with KDDI

Consumers have been told to look out for a “reborn” Myanma Posts and Telecommunications, following the July 17 marriage with Japan’s KDDI telco and Sumitomo Corporation.

“MPT has had a long existence in Myanmar but has no experience in competing with others,” said U Khin Maung Tun, MPT’s general manager. “There is no experience in quick decision-making and marketing. And we have decided to welcome foreign partners in KDDI and Sumitomo Corporation.”

“MPT will be reformed to provide new services to all people in Myanmar. Look out for new MPT,” he said.

The firms signed a 10-year joint operation agreement that aims update MPT’s telecommunications network and providing service to a Japanese standard.

KDDI and Sumitomo Corporation established a joint-venture company, KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM), to act as one entity and link up with MPT.

The two Japanese firms succeeded in becoming MPT’s foreign partner with the support of Japan’s government, a spokesperson for Sumitomo said. “We thank the Japanese government for making this agreement,” said Kuniharu Nakamura, Sumitomo’s chief executive officer.

“We will commit our best efforts to provide a nationwide telecommunications network and [offer the] latest available services to the people of Myanmar.”

“The Japanese government has supported us with information and by introducing us to respected government authorities in Myanmar as we are a newcomer here,” said Hidehiko Tajima, chief executive for global business at KDDI.

KSGM will invest US$2 billion in the next two to three years to implement the terms of its agreement with MPT. The company’s first priority is to update the mobile network.

“MPT already has a nationwide commercial network,” said Takashi Nagashima, managing director of KSGM and chief executive officer of joint operations. “This is a very big advantage. We will sell mobile SIM cards using both GSM and WCDMA networks, as is demanded. But WCDMA will be prioritised,” he added.

“By all means, we look forward to a reborn MPT offering our services in the near future.” Last November, MPT formally invited three foreign firms – France’s Orange Group, Japan’s KDDI and Singapore’s SingTel – to begin partnership talks with MPT.

However, informal discussions had been under way since April, when all three firms narrowly missed out in the race to win two 100 percent foreign-owned telecom operator licences. The winners in that heated battle were Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor, both of which are expected to roll out networks in coming months.

Negotiations between MPT and the three foreign firms have been the subject of many rumours and delays, even after KDDI was nominated as the chosen partner early this year.

“We were very careful through the negotiations not to make any mistake,” said U Khin Maung Tun. “We had many difficult negotiations before we signed an agreement. It is our first experience partnering with a foreign firm.”

The two Japanese firms have also committed to create many jobs indirectly and directly, while maintaining the 8500 current MPT staff. However, both sides need further discussions regarding project implementation and operation management.

“We can’t tell you when our services will be launched. But we can ensure that we won’t be later than other operators and prices will not be higher either,” U Khin Maung Tun said.

Mobile penetrations has nearly hit 10pc and the government has repeatedly stated its goal of seeing that level reach 75pc in the 2015-16 fiscal year.


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