Telecom sector fuels Myanmar’s economy

Telecoms-related sectors contributed up to three-quarters of economic growth in countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, a Telenor-commissioned report by London-based consultancy Frontier Economics found.

With the telecom industry growing at 6-12 percent annually, faster than the GDP growth rates of many Asian developing economies, the industry is a “prime contributor” to economic development in the five countries, said Hans Martin Hoegh Henrichsen, Telenor Myanmar’s chief corporate affairs officer.

The report titled “The Mobile Effect: How Connectivity Enables Growth” looks at the impact of the telecommunications sector in the five Asian countries which Telenor operates in.

“Our analysis shows that sectors which use telecommunications services more intensively contribute between 65 to 75pc of total economic value to the markets across Telenor’s Asian footprint,” said Clive Kenny, Frontier Economics’ senior economic consultant in Telecommunications, in a statement. In Myanmar, the telecoms industry is estimated to have added some US$785 million in economic value to the country.

Myanmar has seen a spike in mobile penetration rates, with subscriptions per 100 people having skyrocketed from 13pc in 2014 to 124pc in 2019. It is estimated that up to 65 million people in Myanmar hold SIM cards. This can be partly attributed to the opening up of the telecom industry by the Thein Sein administration.

“Uptake of mobile phones [in Myanmar] has surpassed Bangladesh, which began development two decades ago,” said Mr Henrichsen of Telenor Myanmar.

Now Myanmar also boasts one of the best 4G networks in Southeast Asia, only surpassed by Singapore, he added.

Telenor has also contributed to technological advancements and innovation in the local financial services sector through its stake in Wave Money in partnership with Yoma Bank. Reaching over 7 million people, Wave Money enabled money transfers that amounted to almost 2pc of Myanmar GDP.

Over 2015 to 2018, Telenor invested over $5.5 billion across the five economies, making the telecom group among the biggest foreign investors in each of the countries.

In 2018, Telenor contributed $4.1 billion to the aforementioned economies, while the whole telecom sector made $16 billion worth of contribution to the same countries, according to the report.

Source: Myanmar Times

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