Mobile firms splash the cash in Myanmar

Economy March 28, 2016 01:00

By KHINE KYAW
MYANMAR ELEVEN
YA

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OOREDOO has extended a US$2 million sponsorship to the Myanmar Football Federation and Myanmar National League for this year. Meanwhile, MPT-KDDI joint operations is sponsoring Myanmar Idol, the nation’s most popular singing contest.



Recently, Telenor launched its first nationwide karaoke contest, offering the winner a prize of 200 million kyats (about Bt5.8 million) and a chance to have the album released. Telenor and Ooredoo also distributed affordable handsets, while MPT charges only 3,200 kyats (Bt93) for 4GB night-time Internet data usage.

All that investment appears to be worth it, as the three strengthen their presence ahead of the expected approval for a 4G rollout later this year. Market shares also matter as Vietnam’s Viettel last week won the fourth telecom licence in partnership with a local consortium.

To the incumbent, aside from promotion, network expansion is vital, as well as points of sale.

MPT now covers 92 per cent of the population, and aims to cover 95 per cent by the end of this month.

Koichi Kawase, chief commercial officer of MPT-KDDI joint operations, which runs a operates 900MHz 3G service, said: “Network expansion has always been a priority in our agenda. There is no doubt that MPT boosts its leadership with over 18 million users and the largest 3G network here. We have updated our quality from 2G to 3G so we can provide clear voice and better Internet services.”

It now has more than 80,000 points of sale.

Serving more than 14 million subscribers – 52 per cent of who are active data users – Telenor extends its coverage to 62 per cent of the population.

Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg, said: “We have made impressive progress in our first full year of operation with net subscriber growth of 1.9 million in the fourth quarter of last year. And our SIM market share is currently estimated to be around 37 per cent, according to our fourth quarter report,” said.

Despite currently standing in the third place in terms of the number of subscribers, Qatar’s Ooredoo also foresees a brighter future in the booming market. It invested more than $1.7 billion in the last quarter of 2015 alone, when the number of subscribers increased by 1 million to 6 million. Its network now covers 80 per cent, set to rise to 90 per cent by the end of this year.

“This has been made possible by our record investment in 3G technology,” said Ooredoo Myanmar’s CEO Rene Meza. He is committed to increase its investment in Myanmar in the years to come.

Both Telenor and Ooredoo invest hugely in telecom towers as well as fibre optic networks.

“We are thrilled that 86 per cent of our customers currently use our data services. We are seeing explosive growth in data traffic on the network, which has increased 5 times in the last year, driven by the affordability of Ooredoo Internet tariffs. We also see that data usage per subscriber, which reached an average of 580 megabytes per month in Q4, at par with what customers in Europe are consuming on their mobile phones,” he said.

According to Meza, Ooredoo products and services are now available in over 100,000 retail outlets, in addition to more than 100 brand stores countrywide. He was pleased that a research by Nielsen shows Ooredoo having a comfortable lead in data experience over mobile Internet competitors.

“We have made the investment, and it is working. We are connecting more data customers than ever before, who feel a real difference in data speed and overall network quality,” he said.