Myanmar grants telecom licenses to foreign firms

Featured South East Asia - July 2nd, 2013
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Myanmar on Thursday granted much-awaited telecom operator licenses to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo, who may now set up the country’s first foreign-owned mobile phone networks.

Telenor and Ooredoo won the bid to access one of the world’s last untapped mobile markets and an announcement was made by Myanmar’s Telecommunications Operator Tender Evaluation and Selection Committee, according to The Associated Press.

Of the more than 90 companies that submitted bids, 12 were short listed, including one from Japan’s KDDI Corp.

The licenses will be awarded in accordance with the new Telecommunications Law expected to be adopted by the current session of parliament, The Nikkei reports.

Currently, less than 6 million of the country’s 60 million population have mobile phones, or around only 10%, according to official reports. The government is planning to boost that figure to 75% by 2015.

Reformist president Thein Sein is looking to overhaul the country’s communications industry, long-neglected during the military junta regime.

Thein Sein says the licenses will bring billions of dollars of investments for telecoms infrastructure and mobile systems across the country, and spur economic growth amid sweeping reforms.