COMPETITION in Myanmar’s telecom industry is as fierce as ever with two foreign players launching 4G services to cope with increasing data demand in the country.
Telenor Myanmar last week launched a 4G service in Nay Pyi Taw, nearly two months after Ooredoo Myanmar offered the technology in the capital city along with Yangon and Mandalay.
In Southeast Asia and Oceania in 2015, only 5 per cent of all mobile subscriptions were 4G – but the figure is expected to increase to more than 40 per cent by 2021, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report 2016.
“We believe that 4G is now relevant to our mass market with current handset capabilities. In the future, we will introduce other 4G services with high definition of voice and enriched messaging experience,” Petter Furberg, the outgoing chief executive officer of Telenor Myanmar, said.
“To provide high speed 4G services all over the country, Telenor will need more spectrum. Telenor is looking forward to participating in the spectrum auctions planned by the Union Government later this year. Due to explosive growth of data and increasing data demand by the Myanmar people we believe it is urgently required to expand our services to 4G all over Myanmar.”
Telenor claims to be Myanmar’s largest network with more than 5,700 towers and 16 million customers. Over 60 per cent of its customers are data users.
Ooredoo said its penetration rate was 85 per cent by April this year. With an aim to be the best data network in the country, the company has extended its fibre optic network to over 7,700 kilometres.
It plans to lengthen it to approximately 12,000km by the end of this year. According to Ooredoo CEO Rene Meza, to date the company has invested more than US$1.7 billion (Bt60 billion) in Myanmar.
“We continue to increase our investment in Myanmar … We look forward to expanding our network as the government of Myanmar grants more spectrum,” Meza said.
“This is only the beginning. Our service will continue to expand and improve over time. We are ready to invest more, and are looking forward to covering even more customers with faster speed.”
He also promised that 4G ser-|vices would not be more pricey |than 3G. Under a marketing cam-paign, Ooredoo customers can enjoy free calls to people using the same network and Facebook at the super-low price of three kyats (Bt0.09) per megabyte.