Myanmar reveals plans to open up its telecoms market

Myanmar reveals plans to open up its telecoms market

A local publication in Myanmar has revealed details of the government’s plans to open up the telecoms sector to international investment, ending six decades of state ownership.

Several international carriers, including TeliaSonera and VimpelCom, have expressed an interest in the country, formerly known as Burma, as it is one of Asia-Pacific’s few remaining untapped markets with limited telecoms infrastructure.

The Myanmar Times reports that state-owned incumbent Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT) will be dismantled and its telecoms business formed into a new entity. The company, which will be named Myanmar Telecom, will operate without government funding

Elsewhere, the country’s other provider Yatanarpon Teleport will be renamed Yatanarpon Telecom, and licences will also be offered for the formation of two new operators, with bidding open to foreign investors. All four of the operators will be able to offer fixed line, mobile, internet and data communication services.

The bidding process for the two new licences will begin between late 2012 and early next year with full competition expected to be introduced to the country by the end of 2013.

An MPT spokesperson told the publication that it was trying to establish a customer focused telecommunications system that offers a choice of operators.

The Myanmar Times also cited plans by MPT to upgrade user density in Myanmar from 75% to 80% by 2016, with the number of users set to reach 39.5 million. MPT said that only three million people out of the country’s estimated 54.6 million population own their own landline or mobile device.

Myanmar’s telecoms market reforms come as a result of the recent warming in relations between the former authoritarian state and the international community, after the ruling military junta agreed to allow elections to take place in April.

Gift this article