Myanmar (Burma) to issue two telecommunication licenses to foreign operators

Analyst Blog

Feb. 5, 2013, 8:58 p.m.
Khin Sandi Lynn, Industry Analyst

The government of Myanmar, formally known as Burma, is planning to issue telecommunication license to four operators (two local operators and two foreign operators) by the first half of 2013.

Being controlled by the military government for decades, Myanmar telecommunication sector lags far behind other developing countries in South East Asia. Mobile phone penetration at the end of 2012 was only 9% while it was 87% in Cambodia and 89% in Laos. Internet penetration was around 1% of its population.

Political and economic reforms that have been taken by civilian government and recent suspension of sanctions by European Union and United States have attracted foreign business firms to invest in resource-rich Myanmar. Myanmar’s telecommunication sector is highly in need of improvement for its economic development.

Although government’s announcement of issuing telecommunication license has attracted industry players, Myanmar’s telecommunication regulation remains unclear. Unless the government lays down strong regulation, the investors will still need to be cautious if they are to havek profitable investment in the untouched telecom market.