The big change in Myanmar’s telecom sector has been the entry of two foreign operators in the local mobile market, joining the former monopoly operator, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT). Buoyed by the success of the arrival of Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor. A license for a fourth mobile licence is scheduled to be awarded during 2016. The joint venture will be 51% owned by the SPV, whilst the foreign partner will hold the remaining 49%.
Much work remains to be done however, with Myanmar being the last underdeveloped telecommunication markets in Asia. Despite the fresh new focus on mobile services and the exploding growth in that sector, by 2016 only a few people had access to a fixed telephone line.
Although the first internet connections were established back in 2000, internet services in Myanmar still remain slow and unstable. The fixed broadband market remains highly underdeveloped, mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform and an unwillingness by operators to invest in fixed broadband infrastructure. Penetration stood at just 0.5% in 2016 and is predicted to increase at a slow rate during the five years to 2021.
Fixed line telephone penetration remains very low at just under 1% and has been gradually declining since 2014 due to the dominance and maturity of the mobile market. Penetration decreased from 1.00% in 2013 to 0.96% in 2016.
Mynanmar’s mobile market has experienced very strong growth from 2013 to 2016. Penetration has risen from 7% in 2013 to 85% by 2016, by which time the market reached 46 million subscribers. Further strong growth is also predicted over the next five years to 2021. By 2018 the market is expected to reach mobile penetration of over 90%.
Mobile broadband has experienced very strong growth, driven by high rapid growth in the mobile sector. Penetration has increased from 15% in 2014, to 26% in 2015 and 35% in 2016. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years however at a slower rate.
International internet bandwidth continues to grow strongly reaching 43,400 Mb/s in 2015 and 53,000Mb/s in 2016.
In April 2016 Vietnamese military-owned group Viette lannounced its plans for its operations in Myanmar in securing the nation’s fourth mobile licence. It expects to spend USD1.5 billion on the construction of a 3G network using the 900MHz and 2100MHz bands, with coverage due to reach 95% of the population within three years. It will also introduce 1800MHz LTE services if the government opts to license the additional spectrum.
Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT); Telenor Myanmar; Ooredoo Myanmar; KDDI; Sumitomo; SingTel, China Mobile; Axiata Group; Digicel; Qatar Telecom; Viettel Group; Vodafone.
Number of pages 39
Last updated 24 Aug 2016
Analyst: Phil Harpur
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