Telecoms price war: How low is too low for tariffs?, from Myanmar

MyanmarContinued downward pressure could put the speed of future investments in jeopardy, he told The Myanmar Times in an interview on September 15 during Myanmar Connect, held by Capacity Conferences in Nay Pyi Taw. “If [prices are pushed] farther down there will be question marks around the quality of service for consumers going forward and how much we will continue to invest in the market,” Mr Meza said.

Million-dollar data centre for MICT Park, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The cloud and data centre firm – now moving into the Myanmar Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Park’s Building 17 – is pumping more than US$1 million into the country’s burgeoning information technology market. “In the initial phase we are putting at least $1 million into the project, and then we hope to expand in the years to come, to double the size to support the demand,” said TrueIDC Thailand’s general manager Thanasorn Jaidee.

Logging On: New Internet Cable Boosts Myanmar’s Connectivity with Neighbors

MyanmarASEAN Briefing — Earlier this week Jiang Zhengxin – vice general manager of China United Telecommunications Corp. –revealed that the company has been contracted to construct China’s first international undersea cable linking China and Myanmar. Speaking from the sidelines of the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Forum held on September 13th, this announcement comes as part of a larger push by China to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN.

Hackers in programming meet to prepare for the vote

MyanmarMyanmar Times — On September 12, downtown innovation lab Phandeeyar played host to the start of the MaePaySoh hackathon, a tech contest that challenges participants to support voters ahead of the November 8 Election Day. MaePaySoh – which means “let’s vote” – aims to ride the wave of Myanmar’s smartphone-heavy connectivity transformation, which has seen teledensity rates increase to more than 40 percent, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Committee looking at potential fourth telco operator

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology began the tender in July, with the winning company or consortium to be partnered with a foreign company of the ministry’s choosing. The operator is ultimately to join Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT with a Nationwide Telecommunications Licence. Another operator called MecTel, tied to military-linked Myanmar Economic Corporation, has a licence that allows it to operate a Mobile Virtual Network, but no Nationwide Telecommunications Licence, according to an August list of licences from the ministry.

China Unicom laying country’s first international undersea cable

ChinaWant China Times — China Unicom, one of China’s main telecommunications service providers, is building the country’s first international undersea cable, the company said on Sunday. China Unicom is cooperating with Myanmar’s telecommunications operators to build the underwater cable, said Jiang Zhengxin, vice general manager of China United Telecommunications Corp, the parent of the state-run telecom company.

Qatar telecom operator offers free data services for WeChat Myanmar

MyanmarWant China Times — Qatar-based telecom operator Ooredoo Myanmar has offered free data services for the WeChat Myanmar app under a partnership program between the two communication apps, an official report said Tuesday. Under a joint promotion program launched in Yangon by Ooredoo Myanmar and WeChat Myanmar, Ooredoo will waive data usage fee for the instant messaging app starting Monday.

End of an era as phone shops disappear

MyanmarMyanmar Times — “Once, my income came mostly from the phone shop,” she said. “Now, I can’t depend on my phone. I get only one or two customers all day. “My income now depends on snack buyers.” It is not only Daw Ni Ni Mar’s shop in Latha township that has seen such a drop – the so-called Public Communications Operators (PCOs) are quickly disappearing from the streets of Yangon.

Young mobile users start advocacy group

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The young people, who are between 20 and 35 years old, have adopted the name Myanmar Online Family and started a website. The founders are from six cities – Mandalay, Yangon, Mogok, Myingyan, Kyaukse and Nyaung Oo. Ko Phyo Nyi Nyi, a founder, said the association would like to position itself as an arbitrating voice between consumers and mobile companies. He pointed to improving coverage and a range of companies entering the country, including Huawei, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo.

MecTel joins the discount fray, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times  — The “Shwe Myinttar” plan will allow for on-net calls at K21 per minute, off-net calls at K22 per minute, and internet at K6 for 1 megabyte. The plan is only slightly cheaper than its existing fees of K22 per minute on-net, K23 per minute off-net and K3 for one minute of internet, which has been in place since August 12. Its rates were previously as high as K50 per minute for calls. MecTel users can sign up by texting “SMT” to SMS number 233.

ITU deploys emergency comms gear to Myanmar

MyanmarTelecom Asia — ITU has deployed emergency satellite phones and other communications equipment to Myanmar in the wake of severe flooding that has affected over 1 million people. The UN agency has sent gear including Iridium satellite phones, Inmarsat satellite terminals and laptops to support rescue and relief coordination efforts.

Internet crawls due to fibre cuts, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times  — Internet troubles seem to have started earlier for state-owned Myanma Post and Telecommunications (MPT) and international competitor Telenor Myanmar, than Qatari firm Ooredoo Myanmar. MPT ran into technical difficulties on August 13 around Myawaddy, where the firm connects to Thailand. On the morning of August 14, COO of the firm’s joint operation Yoshiaki Benino said that a fibre cable had been cut somewhere in the jungle and had already been fixed.

MPT doubles subscribers in past year

MyanmarMyanmar Time — The state-owned operator, which prior to 2014 had a corner on the telecoms market as its only player, currently leads Myanmar’s three-horse race for users with more than 14 million customers at the end of July. Telenor reported more than 10 million users in July and Ooredoo, 4.3 million at the end of June. The firm targets 70 percent area coverage this fiscal year.

Annual tax payments head online for the largest companies

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The department will work with Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) to allow tax payments to be processed online, according to the union’s chief executive U Zaw Lin Htut. “The cooperative system will allow large taxpayers to avoid travelling to Nay Pyi Taw for tax, and they will be able to pay via e-commerce,” he said.

Samsung considers appliance plant in Myanmar

MyanmarKorea Times — Samsung Electronics is considering building facilities in Myanmar to make home appliances. It is part of efforts to respond to rising labor costs in China and Vietnam. “Samsung Electronics is considering building plants to produce white goods in Myanmar as the company has been seeking new manufacturing posts to cut labor costs and improve efficiency,” sources told The Korea Times, Monday.

Google brings internet closer to home, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Home-grown internet has received a boost that could help users get what they want from the internet faster. Though a sizeable chunk of Myanmar’s internet content currently still has to be imported, a new crop of servers has sprung up that will keep some of it nearby – making it faster and easier to get to. According to American internet performance firm Dyn, both Norway’s Telenor and local company Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP) have gone live with Google Global Cache (GGC).

Local developers build disaster app to track the floods

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Across the street and under the flyover, people sing and collect donations for those that the disaster has impacted. Meanwhile, inside at a coffee shop on August 3, Nex Android engineer and product manager Ko Swan Htet Aung and Google Developer Group Yangon community manager Ko Ye Lin Aung spoke about the local tech community’s efforts to do its part.

Mobile communication links go down as floodwater rises

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The flooding – the worst some residents say they have seen in decades – has damaged equipment and in some cases completely submerged tower sites, Ooredoo, Telenor and Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) said this week. Telenor Myanmar said on August 3 that around 30 to 35 sites were inaccessible out of more than 2500 – meaning 1.2 percent of its sites were in trouble.

Results reveal Ooredoo falling further behind rival Telenor

MyanmarMyanmar Times  — Ooredoo and Telenor, which recently announced financial results for the second quarter of 2015, have been locked in fierce competition, along with state-owned incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) in a battle for users across the increasingly connected country. Ooredoo said in a July 29 press release it had racked up 4.3 million Myanmar customers by the end of June – representing an increase of 1 million users over the previous quarter.

Telecom operators set the record straight on USD flows

MyanmarMyanmar Times — “[I’d like to talk] a little bit about the ongoing discussion on how telecom operators in Myanmar are influencing the economy, and to touch upon a few facts,” he said at a media briefing last week. His comments come as the Central Bank of Myanmar launches an investigation into the use of US dollars by banks and corporations following a dollar shortage in Myanmar over the past few months.