Telenor sets 4G on road to growth in Myanmar

29 June 2016 |


Telenor Myanmar has tested fourth-generation (4G) mobile services in five regions of the country - Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Myawady, and Muse.

Telenor Myanmar has tested fourth-generation (4G) mobile services in five regions of the country - Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Myawady, and Muse.

The tests come as the Norwegian mobile operator is moving users to 4G – a process  rival telco Ooredoo has underway. The firm says its fourth-generation rollout has reached several townships in three urban hubs already - Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay.

State-owned incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) said last week that it would launch fourth-generation services as soon as it was ready.

Telenor CEO Petter Furberg told The Myanmar Times the future of 4G hinges on the timing and cost of spectrum allocation.

A timeline from the government’s spectrum roadmap schedules the first auction for the second quarter of 2016. The first spectrum to go on the auction block will be on the 2600 megahertz band, followed by spectrum on the 1800MHz band – which operators have said in the past would take precedence.

“Telenor has been in constant dialogue with the Posts and Telecommunications Department to accelerate the auction, in order for the industry to deliver a better 4G network experience in Myanmar,” a Telenor spokesperson said.

Both Telenor and the MPT have said their launches will begin with 4G data services, a strategy which Ooredoo Myanmar has also adopted.

A Telenor spokesperson said: “Our initial launch will primarily aim to provide 4G internet services, which we feel are most relevant to the Myanmar mass market, based on our observations and current handset capabilities. Over time, we will introduce other 4G services such as high definition voice and enriched messaging experience.” 

The Southeast Asia and Oceania Ericsson Mobility Report for June 2016 said that at the end of last year, more than 5 percent of the region’s mobile subscriptions were LTE (long-term evolution) – a technology standard that local telco officials say is synonymous with 4G in Myanmar.

The report forecasts that this year, LTE subscriptions in that region will hit the 100 million mark.

In the first quarter of 2016, Myanmar’s mobile subscriber base increased by 5 million - a figure matched by Indonesia, while only India added more, according to an Ericsson Mobility global report.