Myanmar 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.
Myanmar Times — The winning proposal will ultimately be partnered with a foreign company, and will likely compete head to head against Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT, which have all received integrated licences already. Speculation has surrounded which companies would receive a fourth licence that was first announced in passing in state media in June 2013.
Myanmar Times — State-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP) said they had closed sales to focus on “expanding capacity” and increasing broadband speed. Despite their efforts Myanmar’s internet remains frustratingly slow. The country is ranked 159 out of 198 by Net Index for consumer download speed, averaging five megabits per second (MBps).
Myanmar Times — “The biggest surprise for Telenor is that 55 percent of our customers are data users on a monthly basis – most on smartphones,” he said. “Yes, Myanmar people like to talk – they are talking more and more. But more interesting is that the growth of data is much quicker than the growth of voice. Voice traffic grew 93pc from January to June, but data usage grew 196pc over the same period.”
PRNewswire — SEOUL, South Korea: CDNetworks has announced today that it has expanded its reach in Mainland Southeast Asia with a new global telecommunications business and newly established CDNetworks points of presence (PoPs) in Myanmar in partnership with its parent company KDDI Group (KDDI). CDNetworks’ PoP in Myanmar increases network coverage to 13 locations throughout Mainland South-east Asia.
The 15-year licence, signed by the Posts and Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, permits FPT’s fully-owned local subsidiary FPT Myanmar to build a nationwide network infrastructure and offer fixed telecom and internet service as well as value-added services, the company said.
The June report said Myanmar augmented its mobile subscriptions count by 5 million on net over the past quarter. This figure puts Myanmar in third place for net additions behind India, whose base increased by 26 million, and China, which upped its subscriptions tally by 8 million in Q1.
Myanmar Times — Currently, the Norwegian firm’s Kayah State towers are clustered around its largest city Loikaw, but Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg said it is still early days for local coverage. “We are still in a very early stage of our rollout in Kayah, but we assure customers that we will continue investing in both sites and fiber solutions to deliver a solid internet and voice coverage in the coming months,” he said in a press release.
Myanmar Times — And though still determined to steer clear of “meaningless” price wars, the firm has cut calling rates for its Swe Thahar and CDMA customers to K23 per minute, which undercut standard tariffs from its foreign competitors, Ooredoo and Telenor. The telco’s target – more than 5000 base stations by spring 2016 – would mean MPT’s service coverage would blanket about 70 percent of Myanmar’s geographical area and more than 90pc of its people, according to Mr Nagashima.
Myanmar Times — The state-owned telco had formerly maintained the highest per-minute prices after the launch of Telenor and Ooredoo. Although the providers offer different packages, Telenor and Ooredoo both charge K25 a minute for base tariffs, while MPT had charged K35 a minute for users of its Swe Thahar plan.
Vietnam Net — “We are happy to be the first wholly owned company in the telecommunications industry to be granted a license to operate in Myanmar,” said a FPT Group representative in making the announcement. The representative added that with the license, FPT expects to concentrate on providing high quality internet services in Myanmar in addition to a wide range of other innovative telecom services.
Myanmar Times — The placement values MySQUAR – the developer of local-language messenger app MyChat – at about £18.5 million. “MySQUAR is now at the forefront of the country’s technological revolution and the success of the AIM flotation will send a powerful, positive signal to the country’s entrepreneurs and to inward-investors alike,” said MySQUAR CEO Eric Schaer in a statement on the AIM admission.
Myanmat Times — Barcamp Yangon, held earlier this year, saw thousands register for the January 31 to February 1 event. The 2015 meet-up heard topics discussed touching on everything from data visualisation to “A brief history of life on earth”. At Barcamps, attendees are invited to share their knowledge in 45 minute spurts on a myriad of topics that span fields from technology to agriculture to ancient culture.
Myanmar Times — At the basic level, one minute of a voice call using MPT costs K35 with its Swe Thahar plan, except to three specific numbers where the cost is K25. Telenor and Ooredoo’s fees per minute have been slightly lower so far than MPT’s. The telcos also offer package deals with different quotas of internet and calls which allows for some lower prices. Speaking at the opening of the MPT shop in Nay Pyi Taw’s Myoma market on June 21, MPT official U Thein Hote said the price reduction is still being discussed.
Electronic bill payments may soon become the main form of payment in Myanmar, with the help of easyBills. Developed by 2C2P and the Myanmar Payment Union (MPU), easyBills aims to eliminate the traditional cash-based, over-the-counter method of payment. MPU is the national payment network of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar that authorises the issuance and acceptance of all payment cards within the country. There are almost a million MPU cards in Myanmar, and the number is set to grow rapidly, according to MPU.
Despite a new telecoms law that empowers the Union government to pursue confidential user information under certain circumstances, a framework around its implementation has yet to be hammered out. Industry players have established stopgap measures that balance consumer rights and compliance. Section 75 of Myanmar’s 2013 telecoms law says the Union government may direct organisations to help it obtain information or telecommunications damaging to national security and the prevalence of law, so long as doing so does not impact fundamental rights of citizens.
The day-long hacking marathon came on the heels of the Union government’s online publication of census data from last year’s enumeration. While access to that information only requires a few clicks, taking in what’s on Excel data sheets gets complicated – which is where hackers can help. At the June 6 event, which lasted for the working day, loose groups worked on different projects, including an application program interface (API) for calling up census data.
State-owned MPT is still the mobile phone market leader, claiming 65 percent of all SIMs in the market, though its foreign rivals are also growing rapidly. MPT was the sole telecoms service provider until August last year, when it was joined by first Ooredoo and then Telenor. As of the end of March, MPT had 18.4 million SIMs in the market, while Ooredoo had 3.3 million SIMs and Telenor 6.4 million SIMs, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology permanent secretary U Khin Maung Thet said.
The proposal was approved following a long debate between members of parliament and ministers during a May 27 parliamentary session. The move follows a groundswell of opposition to the tax, announced at a May 18 event in Nay Pyi Taw by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). It said the 5pc tax on telecoms services would be collected from June 1, ending what it said was an exemption granted to the industry.
Shop owners in every township of Myanmar’s three largest cities have set up Red Dot terminals – machines that act as payment gateways allowing customers to top up mobile phones without scratch cards. Based in downtown Yangon, Red Dot offers technology and services that can streamline top-up sales and management for vendors, which is currently a clunky and involved process, according to Mr Whelan.