Norway's Telenor Group has announced the signing of an agreement with the Myanmar government for a 15-year nationwide telecommunications licence covering spectrum in the 900MHz and 2.1GHz bands.
The group aims to provide accessible and affordable mobile communications to people across Myanmar, and will launch services within eight months of the licence being awarded.
“The people of Myanmar are ready for world-class mobile services and Telenor is ready to deliver it,” said president and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas.
“A major milestone has been passed with the signing of the nationwide telecommunications licence agreement with the Myanmar government. This is the start of an exciting journey in Myanmar’s development, which Telenor will support through the delivery of world-class mobile services, responsible business practices and high standards that we live by in all of our markets,” he added.
With a population of around 60 million, of which less than 10 per cent have access to mobile services, Myanmar represents a strong business opportunity for Telenor in Asia.
Telenor Group aims to build on its global and regional experience to establish Telenor Myanmar as a successful mass-market operator.
There was record interest in the licence-award process, with more than 91 companies expressing interest in participating. Following announcement last June of the successful applicants, Telenor entered into consultation with the authorities to finalise details of the policy framework.
“The licence is a product of an extensive consultation process with the government of Myanmar and international organisations. It now represents an acceptable framework that we believe will go a long way to providing the necessary long-term predictability that Telenor requires when it formally starts operations in Myanmar,” said Sigve Brekke, executive vice president of Telenor Group and head of Telenor’s operations in Asia.
To secure a rapid roll-out, the company has already appointed a management team and has initiated recruitment of employees on all levels. Currently, the unit has a workforce of 150, and is expected to hire 1,000 full-time employees by the end of this year.
“We are fully focused on a rapid roll-out of our network and establishing an extensive distribution system to make services easily available to the population. By offering high-quality products and excellent customer experience, we aim to create loyalty and trust with our customers in Myanmar,” said Petter Furberg, CEO of Telenor Myanmar.
Telenor will build a state-of-the-art mobile network using HSPA (high-speed packet access) and LTE (long-term evolution)-ready technologies, and plans to provide network coverage for 90 per cent of the population in Myanmar within five years.
Voice and data services over 2G and 3G will be commercially launched as Telenor’s initial offering, ensuring that consumers get excellent voice quality and high-speed data connectivity.
The company targets ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) breaking even in Myanmar within three years after the licence is awarded.