Myanmar may delay 2600MHz auction

09 March 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Myanmar’s planned 2600MHz spectrum auction later this month may be stalled after industry backlash, including from Telenor and Ooredoo, over the reported lack of a regulatory framework.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) had scheduled the auction to take place on March 24, 2016, but it may be delayed due to fears over ‘wide range of contrasting views on the process’, the spectrum guidelines and how it will be managed, reports the Myanmar Times.

MCIT acknowledges that it may need to delay the process as a result. It had posted a consultative document about the auction of 140MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band on February 3, 2016, with the final auction framework roadmap due to be published on February 22, 2016. 

Telenor and Ooredoo, two of the three country’s operators, are both concerned about Myanmar’s incomplete spectrum auction plans and believe the government should have a plan in place to manage it.

Ooredoo CEO Rene Meza informed the Myanmar Times that the roadmap would not be finalised and implemented in time for the auction: “We are extremely concerned about this action. The first order of business should be a coherent spectrum roadmap.”

“Auctions should follow once the roadmap is in place. To conduct beforehand a hasty, insufficiently planned auction is truly putting the cart before the horse.”

Telenor Myanmar’s CEO, Petter Furberg agreed and told the Myanmar Times: “We think it’s a rush and unnecessary to auction out spectrum before you actually have agreed on the plan for how you want to use the spectrum going forward.”

Local media reports that Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications director U Than Htun Aung has admitted the auction will take more time to finalise, but that it had not been officially delayed. Other reports have suggested that the government’s urgency to complete the auction may be as a result of the upcoming political transition.