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Japan's KDDI, Sumitomo eye $2.0 bn Myanmar telecom deal

TOKYO - Japanese mobile carrier KDDI said Thursday that it planned to link up with trading house Sumitomo in deal to invest about $2.0 billion in developing wireless networks in Myanmar, as the country opens up after years of military rule.

The move will see the Japanese giants pair up for a joint venture with state-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT).

The tie-up would invest 200 billion yen ($2.0 billion) over a decade to boost phone networks in a country where only about 10 per cent of the 65-million strong population has access to mobile phones, KDDI said, one of the lowest rates in the world.

The business, KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM), would upgrade the domestic carrier’s existing network and expand mobile coverage, the spokesman said.

"KSGM is expected to make an investment of about 200 billion yen over the next 10 years, and most of it will be used for developing the network," he added.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was left impoverished after decades of economic mismanagement under the former junta, as well as years of sanctions by the West imposed in protest at the government’s dire human rights record.

However, recent democratic and market reforms have breathed new life into the country’s economy as global firms eye the largely untapped market.

AFP


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