Myanmar plans «beauty contest» mobile bid

Dylan Bushell-Embling
17 May 2013
Daily News

It's been a busy week for updates from the Myanmar telecom front, with the government moving closer to a mobile license allocation, and Hutchison Global setting up its first PoP in the market.

The Myanmar government this week revealed it had hired consultancy firm Roland Berger to help it set the selection criteria for the hotly-contested mobile license allocation, Mizzimareported.

The government plans to use a “beauty contest” model for selecting the winners, with the two winning companies to be selected based on technical and financial criteria.

Technical selection criteria will reportedly include network rollout, customer care and social responsibility capabilities.

A total of eight operators or consortia have been shortlisted from a list of 22 applicants to take part in the competition. These include the China Mobile-Vodafone consortium, and sole or consortium bids from SingTel, Bharti Airtel, Axiata, KDDI and Viettel.

South Africa's MTN, another shortlisted applicant, has just commenced a PR campaign aimed at building awareness and confidence in its brand among the Myanmar population ahead of the allocation, BizCommunitysaid.

The telecom ministry has this week separately released a target of improving mobile coverage to 50% of the population by 2015, according to Asia News Network. At present, Myanmar's mobile teledensity is just 7%, government figures show.

The week didn't just bring developments on the domestic side. Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) also announced it had set up its first PoP in Myanmar, in collaboration with state-owned Myanmar Posts and Telecom.

The PoP is designed to allow international carriers to interconnect with Myanmar and other nations within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), HGC president of international and carrier business Andrew Kwok said.

“Establishment of a Myanmar PoP reinforces HGC's presence in GMS,” he said. “We were an IP-VPN pioneer in Myanmar back in 2008, and the first foreign telecom operator to be granted permission to provide voice and data services following liberalization of the local telecom market last year.”

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