7 players express interest in Myanmar mobile JV

26 Jan 2016

Seven foreign companies have expressed an interest in joining the consortium set to become Myanmar's fourth mobile operator.

The Myanmar Ministry of Communications and Information Technology confirmed the number of interested parties to Reuters, but would not give any details about the companies themselves.

Myanmar has assembled a group of 11 local technology and other companies that will partner with an international operator and receive a mobile license.

But unlike the tender for two mobile licenses offered to international operators that attracted such strong interest in 2013, the current project is a tougher sell to foreign players this time around.

First, the new consortium will be competing in the mobile market with Telenor Myanmar and Ooredoo Myanmar, the winners of the 2013 tender, as well as state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecom in partnership with KDDI.

The operator will also need to agree to a joint venture with companies that are largely unknown outside of Myanmar as well as a government shareholder.

Finally, unlike the period prior to Telenor and Ooredoo's launch, the telecom market is no longer a greenfield, with the ministry estimating a current penetration rate of 63%.

But the market still remains underdeveloped compared to comparable markets in Southeast Asia, so the joint venture is still a somewhat attractive proposition.

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