Myanmmar gets its first high-speed 4G service

MyanmarMIS Asia — Residents and visitors to Myanmar are now able to access the internet at 4G speeds, thanks to Nokia and telecommunications company Ooredoo Myanmar. Communications and information technology company Nokia has upgraded Ooredoo Myanmar’s existing 3G network using the Nokia Single RAN and Packet Core platforms. This initial 4G roll-out was completed under three months.

Blockchain proves successful in Myanmar microfinance test

MyanmarNikkei — TOKYO — An experiment to create a low-cost and highly reliable blockchain infrastructure to record financial transactions is gathering steam in Myanmar. Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records that are difficult to tamper or revise. The technology serves as the public ledger of transactions using the virtual currency bitcoin.

Myanmar Oriental Bank taps on VMware to support growing number of SME customers

MyanmarMIS Asia — Myanmar Oriental Bank (MOB) has teamed up with VMware – a cloud infrastructure and business mobility provider – to better support its growing number of small and medium enterprise (SME) customers. MOB’s employees across its network of 37 branch offices manage large amounts of data from customer information and financial records to provide financial intermediation for SMEs.

Myanmar’s MPT launches Facebook’s Free Basics

MyanmarMobile World Live — Myanmar’s largest operator MPT has launched Free Basics and Facebook Flex to give subscribers free access to basic information and resources on the the internet. The operator said Free Basics offers access to more than 35 sites dedicated to health, education, jobs and finance. Facebook Flex has two modes – free mode and data mode. Free mode allows people to post, comment and chat for free, however, they can’t view images and videos.

Telcos have the leverage to chase Myanmar enterprises

MyanmarTelecom Asia — A rapid increase of enterprises coupled with the growing deployment of IT infrastructure and cloud computing seems to be the likely game changer for Myanmar’s telecom enterprise market. This robust increase in the number of enterprises presents Myanmar telecom operators with a prime growth opportunity.

Ooredoo Myanmar to launch 4G this month

MyanmarTelecom Asia — Ooredoo Myanmar has revealed plans to launch 4G services in two cities this month, becoming the first operator to introduce 4G into the market. Ooredoo Myanmar CEO Rene Meza told the Myanmar Times that the operator plans to introduce 4G in Yangon and Mandalay first.

Telenor reaches 15.5m users, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The Norwegian mobile operator now nips at the heels of the Myanmar market’s state-owned incumbent, Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), which in April said it served more than 19 million customers. Meanwhile, the country’s third operator, Qatari entrant Ooredoo Myanmar, said earlier this year it counted more than 6 million users on its network.

MPT keeps lid on police requests for customer data

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The operator has remained tight-lipped on the issue, despite its foreign-owned industry rivals Telenor and Ooredoo having reported or answered questions on customer data requests. Yosuke Fukuma, public relations adviser for KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM) – the joint venture between MPT and Japanese firm KDDI – said it was not possible to provide figures on police requests for user information from the operator side “as these do not belong merely to MPT, and may relate to investigating activities by the police authorities”.

Mobile operators comply with one in four data requests

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Though Myanmar’s telecoms industry and accompanying legislation has rapidly developed in the past few years, a detailed framework for how authorities can ask for confidential user information has not yet been settled on, according to Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg. Telenor and Ooredoo are currently following an interim arrangement that allows them to review requests and even refuse to comply.

Myanmar mobile leaps along

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Much talk in the telecoms market has been dedicated to the digital leapfrog: the almighty hop from legacy technology to a mobile-first future. Myanmar’s operators – state-owned incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), Ooredoo and Telenor – have seen subscriber figures jump by millions over the past few years; and though coverage rates have climbed higher than ever before, they’re not stopping now.

Mobile money regulations released, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times  — The Central Bank announced yesterday that it had issued rules on mobile financial services at the end of last month to build an enabling regulatory framework for efficient and secure mobile financial services in Myanmar. For some, the country seems primed for these services. Few of its 51.4 million population have bank accounts, and distrust of the financial sector remains high.

Viettel to roll out 3G-only network in Myanmar

MyanmarTelecom Asia — Vietnamese military-run operator Viettel has provided details of its plans for entering the Myanmar mobile market, including a goal of connecting 95% of the country’s population within three years. Viettel was recently selected as the international partner for a consortium of 11 local technology and other companies selected to become Myanmar’s fourth mobile operator.

Speaker urges review of 5pc telco tax, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — During a meeting with hluttaw committee chairpersons and secretaries in parliament’s Zabu Thiri Hall, the speaker said the government should assess whether the tax on phone calls and text messages is appropriate, National League for Democracy MP U Hla Moe told The Myanmar Times.

Telenor addresses underage labour, corruption and site fatalities

MyanmarMyanmar Times— At a sustainability briefing yesterday – the third given by the Norwegian operator, which is the only telco to hold a public event discussing these issues – Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg covered major risks in the telecoms sector ranging from land issues to health and safety concerns. And though the company has taken measures to prevent violations, still it has seen tragedy strike.

Viettel picked for fourth telecoms tie-up with military partner, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Viettel, which is owned by Vietnam’s defence ministry, was one of seven foreign companies to express interest in a tender launched at the end of last year. Of the five companies deemed suitable to apply, the Vietnamese operator was the only one to submit its proposal by the deadline on March 18, said a source with knowledge of the matter.

Mobile money regulations submitted to cabinet, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The source, who asked not to be named, said the regulations had been submitted to the cabinet for approval.  Though some companies and banks have already launched mobile money services, a lack of government policy has played a role in preventing all players from entering the market.

Telcos to collect 5 percent tax, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The new 5 percent tariff will go into effect at the start of the 2016-17 fiscal year, on April 1. The tax would have been imposed on the telecoms industry last June, but the government voted to suspend it, extending what the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology had called an initial exemption for the sector.

Slow take-off for cloud firms, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — “Cloud” is a tech buzzword representing the idea that information stowed on the internet can be obtained any time, any place – as if plucked from the sky. “Running on the cloud means you’re [taking out a loan on] someone else’s servers on a server farm instead of setting up your own,” said Ko Yan Naung Oak of Yangon innovation lab Phandeeyar. “It’s analogous to getting electricity from the utility board instead of running your generator at home.”

Yangon Heartz plans ‘smart city’, from Myanmar

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Telecoms and IT solutions provider Yangon Heartz is looking for local or international partners to build the project at an estimated cost of US$100 million, said U Zaw Zaw Myo Lwin, the company’s chief executive. “We are discussing the projects with potential partners,” he told The Myanmar Times. “We are also looking at buying a 5-acre plot, though I can’t yet tell you where exactly it will be.”

APEX launches mobile banking service

MyanmarMyanmar Times — MAB Mobile Bank, as the product is known, is compatible with any SIM card, on both smartphones and keypad phones, said the bank’s managing director U Win Min Khaing. “These transfer facilities are available at all times. Our services are no longer limited to banking hours.”

Ooredoo user growth rate doubles

MyanmarMyanmar Times — In the October to December period, the Qatari operator added twice the subscribers it had gained over the three months to September 30, 2015, a dramatic improvement in its user acquisition rate.Facing stiff competition in the market, Ooredoo recently switched its strategy and began deploying a new, mass-market approach, a move Ooredoo CEO Rene Meza said has paid off.

Telenor renews contract with Ericsson

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The contract renews a March 2014 agreement between Ericsson and Telenor which designated the Swedish company its network supplier and managed service provider in Myanmar. This includes “deployment of 4G/LTE networks and transformation of 2G and 3G networks in Myanmar,” the company wrote in an email toThe Myanmar Times.

Men more likely than women to own mobile phones: report

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The report, “Mobile phones, internet and gender in Myanmar”, says that although traditional gender roles are evolving, women – the greater half of the population – are in the minority when it comes to SIM card ownership, with men often tasked with carrying a household’s only handset. The report is based on surveys and interviews of more than 12,000 people, completed across Myanmar last year.

Redlink hits back over spectrum auction concerns

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Multinational telcos Telenor and Ooredoo have raised concerns that selling more spectrum before the completion of a roadmap charting its allocation would be hasty. But Redlink vice chair and co-founder U Thein Than Toe said both operators have gone live in the Myanmar market without the finalisation of certain rules – and that these international firms want to keep challengers down.

The Asia-Africa-Europe cable (AAE-1) lands in Myanmar

MyanmarManila Bulletine — The Asia-Africa-Europe cable system (AAE-1) cable landed in Myanmar on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, according to China Unicom, the landing party in Myanmar for the cable. The Chinese carrier is in charge of building the new cable landing station in Ngwe Saung, Myanmar.

Telcos lobby govt over fourth operator

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Both international operators have raised the issue of a “level playing field” in discussions. In an interview with The Myanmar Times earlier this week, Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg said the government must guarantee that the new operator will be held to the same standards as foreign entrants were three years ago.

Ericsson wins deals with Telenor Asia, XL Axiata

APACTelecom Asia — Ericsson has secured a five-year contract with Telenor Group to deploy LTE networks in Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Under the deal, Ericsson will provide equipment for LTE rollouts by Thailand’s Dtac, Bangladesh’s Grameenphone and Telenor Myanmar. The contract also covers the transformation of Telenor’s 2G and 3G networks in the markets, to help improve network capacity and enhance the mobile broadband experience.

New spectrum auction ‘rushed’: Telenor, Ooredoo

MyanmarMyanmar Times — Myanmar telecoms companies have been waiting for more spectrum – but an announcement about an upcoming auction has raised concerns, as there is no finalised plan for how it will be managed. The government released a draft version of its Spectrum Roadmap early this month, at nearly the same time it posted information about a potential plan to auction 140 megahertz of spectrum in a channel known as the 2600MHz band.

MPT to hold internet security seminars

MyanmarMyanmar Times — MPT plans to hold 56 seminars in schools, universities and industrial estates across 28 townships from now until mid-March, and later this year will hold seminars in MPT-branded shops. The first talks will be held in the delta region and central Myanmar, said Koichi Kawase, chief commercial operator of MPT and its Japanese joint venture partner KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM).

Telenor racks up 14 million users

MyanmarMyanmar Times — The Norwegian telecoms operator’s fourth-quarter results show a net subscriber growth of 1.9 million over the past three months. This equates to a SIM market share of around 37 percent, the company said. International competitor Ooredoo has yet to announce its Q4 results, but counted 4.8 million customers to its base against Telenor’s 11.8 million at the end of Q3. State incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications had 16 million users by November last year.