Passakorn Hongsyok, general manager of Myanmar Information Highway at the MIH Office in Yangon.
Passakorn Hongsyok, general manager of Myanmar Information Highway at the MIH Office in Yangon.

Internet service JV eyes double-digit growth in Myanmar

Corporate January 07, 2019 01:00

By Khine Kyaw
The Nation
Yangon

16,792 Viewed

Myanmar Information Highway (MIH), a joint venture between Benchachinda Group and local companies that provides broadband Internet services in Myanmar, hopes to enjoy double-digit growth this year, according to Passakorn Hongsyok, the firm’s general manager.



Passakorn said in an exclusive interview to The Nation that the firm aims to serve 2,000 corporate clients in Yangon by the end of 2019. MIH currently serves less than 1,000 businesses and its monthly revenue is in the low six-digit figure in US dollar terms.

“We only focus on B2B [business to business] operations. Our target clients are businesses in Myanmar willing to substantially improve their performance with the help of technology,” he said.

According to Passakorn, the income from corporate clients mainly drives MIH’s revenue, though small and medium enterprises account for around 30 per cent of its client base. He seemed content with providing high-speed broadband Internet to a large number of Thai companies based in the neighbouring country.

This year, the firm plans to expand its network coverage in Yangon, rather than expanding to other cities. Passakorn expects to cover 80 per cent of Myanmar’s commercial hub by March 2019.

“Expansion beyond Yangon is definitely on our radar. But we do not want to make haste. For the time being, our focus is Yangon where the majority of corporates are based,” said Passakorn.

The firm has fully covered 23 townships in Yangon including the central business district areas. This year, MIH’s expansion plan will prioritise on industrial zones to better serve its corporate clients. From 2020 onwards, the firm aims to expand to other cities including Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.

“Banks, financial services, wholesalers and some ISPs [Internet service providers] are using our services. We have our own cloud so we can bring high standard cloud services to them. We are also providing value-added services for business customers,” said Passakorn.

The firm was incorporated in 2014 under Myanmar’s existing laws to provide premier broadband Internet and data communication services to the nation. In 2015, Benchachinda Group started investing in MIH and bringing in the expertise of its subsidiary, United Information Highway. Utilising advanced optical fibre technology, MIH offers a stable and high capacity broadband platform in Myanmar. Currently, Benchachinda Group holds around 70 per cent stake in the firm.

“We put our investment into MIH in 2015, as part of our plan for regional expansion. In the early years, we had to struggle a lot because there was some hesitation and disputes during the previous government’s term. Things were stalled and not really active until 2017,” Passakorn recalled.

In September 2018, the firm commenced its commercial operations with the launch of Myanmar’s fastest fibre-optic Internet service for businesses. By incorporating its expertise in Thailand and the latest technology, MIH aims to provide a professional service on the most stable telecom platฌform in Yangon.

In pursuit of its vision to become the best broadband service provider for businesses in Myanmar, the firm aims to create a benchmark in the industry for comprehensive connectivity solutions for its clients via extensive netฌwork coverage and international accreditation, said Passakorn.

“Our mission is to connect businesses and society through innovative ICT solutions. We have dedicated technical support teams and round-the-clock monitoring ensures that our business clients will be able to run smoothly. So, we ensure that we maintain high reliability and quality for infrastructure,” he said.

MIH offers premium data services to businesses via a stable and advanced optical fibre technology, up to 10 gigabytes per second. 

For IP VPN service, MIH provides a virtual private network to business customers who need private and secured services as well as round-the-clock data centre solutions where the customers choose the environment they need – servers, databases, storage, Internet connection, bandwidth and rack space. MIH’s network is able to connect with the global network via Point of Presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.

“Our backbone network capacity is developed to support up to 100Gbps. With global technology partners, we are ready to support leading corporates to operate effectively in Myanmar,” said Passakorn.

Last year, MIH secured approval from the Yangon City Development Committee to lay down fibre-optic netฌwork across townships in the city. On October 12, 2018, the firm rolled out Myanmar’s first hybrid Cloud service (MIH CloudShare) for enterprises. The service supports Windows, Mac, iOS and Android without any hardฌware implementation, and provides easy collaboration through online editฌing with daily backup. It provides easy access anywhere regardless of device or operation system, at a reasonable price.

“Our CloudShare service marks a new era, particularly in Myanmar, with its versatility, agility and security for users in the market. The service offers users opportunities for closer collaboration, access to a virtual office that is user-friendly and secure,” said Passakorn.

The firm now has nearly 50 team members, the majority of them locals, except seven Thai employees. It aims to expand its workforce to 70 employees within one year, hiring more marketing and engineering staff.