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Deadline looms for overseas bids for Myanmar’s fourth licence

Foreign operators have until December 18 to apply to the tender process for Myanmar’s fourth mobile licence.

Whichever firm wins the bid will become the international partner in a consortium of 11 local companies, under the leadership of the state-owned ISP Yatanarpon Teleport. Known as Myanmar National Telecom, this group will take a 51% stake in the new venture with the overseas partner taking the remaining 49%.

The formation of Myanmar National Telecom fulfils a long-held ambition of YTP to lead a consortium of local firms into the bid for the country’s fourth licence. While a number of foreign firms have expressed interest in Myanmar, Vietnamese operator Viettel has been particularly outspoken about its attraction to the market.

Due to be awarded by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in 2016, the licence will have an initial validity period of 15 years, but can be extended by a further 10 years – the same terms as the licences acquired by Ooredoo and Telenor in 2013.

Currently there are 3 operators present in Myanmar. Leading the market with a 48% share is MPT-KDDI, a joint venture between Myanmar Posts & Telecoms and Japanese firm KDDI. Telenor takes second place with 37%, while Ooredoo has 15%.

Mobile connections are growing fast in Myanmar, going from 9.3 million connections in Q3 2014 to 31.6 million at the end of the same quarter this year. MPT has around 15 million subscribers, while Telenor is catching up with 11.8 million.

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