Roland Berger to run tender for fourth Myanmar telco: sources

The German consultant that advised on a government tender for two international telecoms operator licences – won by Telenor and Ooredoo – will provide support for a new tender for a fourth licence, said industry sources.

Roland Berger will be hired to help a local special purpose vehicle, or SPV, pick an international partner, said U Than Htun Aung, director of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Posts and Telecommunications Department.

The joint venture formed between the local consortium and an international firm should become Myanmar’s fourth nationwide telecoms operator.

A spokesperson for Roland Berger did not respond to requests for comment.

U Than Htun Aung said the government is not leading the project.

“Eleven Myanmar companies have formed an SPV. Roland Berger will be employed to help in the selection of the international partner.”

He is not sure whether the tender will be open or closed. An open tender will take longer, while a closed tender would be quicker but would limit the options, he said, adding both have their pros and cons.

“Maybe they have already decided, but [we are] not aware,” he said. “We are the regulator; we will stay independent of the process.”

Among the 11 companies is a new subsidiary of Yatanarpon Teleport, according to YTP chair U Yan Win.

Royal YTP joins Myanmar ICT Development Corporation (MICTDC) as well as other companies not in the telecommunications sector, he said.

“We have already combined with 11 groups. This company will form a joint venture with an international operator.”

It was long rumoured YTP would receive the fourth licence in conjunction with a foreign partner.

The process was previously led by YTP, according to earlier comments by U Than Htun Aung, but to ensure efficiency was put under the purview of a steering committee.

The company in the past has held discussions with potential foreign partners including Vietnam’s Viettel Group, Thailand’s True Corporation Public Company and Malaysia’s Axiata Group, which has since agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in Digicel Group’s Myanmar Tower Company for US$221 million.

The operator will be 51 percent locally-owned, said U Yan Win. As for the international partner, “If you want to join with our new group, you will participate in the tender.”

He confirmed Roland Berger would run the tender, and said a lot will ride on the foreign teammate, as the operator will arrive late to the telecoms table.

“It may be very hard, because we’re already late. It depends on our partner. If it has the capacity to compete … we can work together,” he said.

Operators Telenor Myanmar and Ooredoo Myanmar launched services last year and have already racked up millions of subscribers, with Telenor reporting 11.8 million subscribers and Ooredoo counting 4.8 million customers in their third-quarter results published at the end of last month.

State-owned incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications has roughly 16 million users, its Japanese partner KDDI said earlier this month.

Access to Myanmar’s telecoms market is highly coveted. In 2013, when the government invited expressions of interest for two operator licences, a total of 91 foreign companies and consortiums submitted proposals.

However, while the international licences allow 100pc ownership, the international partner may only hold up to 49pc of the fourth licence, which may dampen the interest of some.

Source: Myanmar Times

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