MPT flexes in telco fray as lower rate plan announced

MPT announced new rates with its Swe Thahar plan on January 9, as the state-owned telco continues modernisation efforts against growing competition from Ooredoo and Telenor.

The Swe Thahar plan changes service charges and internet costs, as well as the fees for SMS and voice calls, and will start on January 12.

“Current customers can continue using their old MPT plan. The Swe Thahar MPT plan is a choice,” said U Khin Maung Tun, MPT general manager.

The new fees with the plan are K35 per minute for calls, K15 per SMS message and new rates for data – though the telco has already received criticism for not matching competitors’ rates.

Mobile phone user Daw Aye Nyein Win said other operators charge K25 per minute for calling.

“I thank MPT for reducing call charges, but MPT should reduce prices to the rates charged by other operators,” she said.

MPT CEO Takashi Nagashima said prepaid customers who want to register for the new plan must send “SWE” by SMS to number 1332. It is also possible to unsubscribe from the plan.

Users of the new plan will also receive free services like call waiting, call forwarding and voice mail. It will also get rid of the previous K10,000 to receive internet access with a SIM.

MPT will also begin selling top-up cards in denominations of K1000 and K3000, and is trying to cover 70 percent of Myanmar by the end of 2016.

The plan covers only WCDMA and GSM customers, not CDMA customers. Mr Nagashima said CDMA users will also benefit from future plans, though some have criticised being left out of the process.

MPT CDMA user U Kyaw Tun said he is also an MPT user and should be able to access the new plan.

“MPT should reduce fees for CDMA customers, because we’re MPT subscribers too,” he said.

MPT was the country’s sole mobile operator, and was often criticised for its service quality. In 2013 the government conducted an auction for two private telco licences which were ultimately won by Telenor and Ooredoo after dozens of firms competed.

The two foreign telcos began operating in the second half of 2014, bringing significant competition to a market that had previously been a monopoly.

During 2014, MPT also inked a joint operations agreement with Japan’s KDDI and Sumitomo in an effort to help the firm modernise and compete in the increasingly competitive market.

Source: Myanmar Times

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