Ooredoo Myanmar aims to lead data market

OOREDOO Myanmar will continue its 4G rollout to become the leader in Myanmar’s data market after becoming the nation’s first telecom operator to provide 4G services last year. It plans to introduce the first 4G Pro network early next year, according to VikramSinha, the firm’s chief executive.

The upgraded 4G Pro network is designed to offer the fastest browsing speeds in Myanmar – up to 500 Mbps or three times faster than the current mobile data speed of existing 4G networks, he said.

“We have invested more than US$2 billion and will significantly boost our 4G network throughout the second phase of the staged rollout, expanding coverage to 200 townships in Myanmar, including rural and underserved areas, by the end of this year,” he said.

The firm currently has 8 million active customers in Myanmar and expects significant growth next year, thanks to its innovative products and network expansion.

Capitalising on its advanced network and system integration technologies, the firm will install over 13,000 kilometres of fiber optic cables while the number of towers will grow to 4,800 by the end of 2017.

Currently, the firm network covers more than 85 per cent of the population. It will expand to 92 per cent by early 2019.

“We will also ensure that our SIMs are compatible with all devices, and our network is widespread and stable with superfast speed. Our steadfast focus on data services reflects the critical importance of offering innovative 4G services in a technological era where data-driven solutions are needed more than ever,” he said.

The firm has partnered with Nokia and ZTE to speed up network upgrade and be prepared for the evolution to 5G.

To keep 4G accessible for local consumers, the firm has consistently employed a variety of innovative tactics, including keeping 4G prices consistent with 3G, and offering subsidised 4G accessible smartphones for low-income customers.

Customer education

According to Sinha, approximately 80 per cent of their customers are active data users. The firm expects to have a mix of both voice and data customers over the next three years. He considers customer education as a key challenge that needs to be systematically solved.

“For example, 4G is a relatively new technology in Myanmar, and required a great degree of public education to increase demand. Our marketing team addressed it by engaging local celebrities to make entertaining online videos to educate and answer customers’ key questions including how to activate 4G and how it is different from 3G,” he said.

“People in rural and pre-urban areas are mainly using mobiles for voice and we need to educate them on the usefulness of data to increase efficiency in their daily life.”

The firm’s 4G launch has resulted in a double growth of data consumption last year. It enjoys the highest smartphone penetration rate in Myanmar with more than 80 per cent of Ooredoo customers using smartphones.

Before the launch, only 33 per cent of Myanmar mobile sales were 4G devices. It grew to 45 per cent after launch of the 4G service, and has continued to grow.

Sinha said the firm would continue investing in technology and innovations to help Myanmar transforming into a truly digital-first nation. He promised to closely work with the government to develop policies and regulatory framework that would ensure sustainable competition by delivering world-class services at competitive prices.

The firm has developed some easy-to- use applications including Site Pyo, a free smartphone app designed to improve Myanmar farmers’ lives by providing valuable information on increasing yields.

Additionally, it has launched a digital service for enterprises, enabling business customers to optimise and better plan data usage of their employees through a self-care module that can be accessible from office at any time.

It has partnered with Yatanarpon Teleport to bring advanced FTTH services to Myanmar. It has also launched a 90-days CSR programme that will contribute 1 kyat from its own revenue for every minute of customers’ calls in seven states and regions across Myanmar.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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