Vodafone and China Mobile sign strategic agreement for Myanmar licence

04 April 2013 | Mitch Sayers


Vodafone has signed a strategic agreement with China Mobile in a bid to secure a licence in Myanmar.

The two companies, among the largest operators in the world, have formed the consortium to win a licence and build, own and operate a national mobile network in the state for 15 years.

Operators are looking to capitalise on the country’s change in policy, after the government opened up the market to international players.

The government has said it wants to boost telecoms coverage to 80% by the end of 2016, with the market significantly under penetrated at present. Only 10% of Myanmar’s 64 million citizens use a mobile phone, meaning there is huge potential for international operators to expand operations.

"With a comparatively young and highly literate population of around 60 million... and mobile phone penetration currently below 10% - significantly lower than in many other emerging economies - Myanmar will be an important new market for the global mobile industry," said Vodafone in a statement.

The Myanmar government is increasing its two mobile operators to four and 22 applications have been received for pre-qualification.

The two successful bidders will be announced on June 27, Vodafone said, citing government documentation.

Other rumoured interested parties include MTN, France Telecom-Orange, Airtel, Telenor, VNPT, Axiata and Singtel.