Amid slowing demand in the economy, the Myanmar telecommunications sector is expected to be among the handful of sectors yielding opportunities for growth in the coming fiscal year. In the 2018-19 National Planning Bill signed by President U Win Myint on September 21, telecommunications was projected to grow by 15 percent between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
“The Myanmar telecommunication sector has made progress year after year. For businesses to be able to operate efficiently, telecommunications services are essential. As market demand rises, there will be more foreign direct investments as well as local investments into this sector,” said Daw Nyein Chan Thu, public relations and internal communications manager at Amara Communications Co. Ltd, which provides internet services in Myanmar.
Despite being one of the least developed economies in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is on par with its neighbours in terms of mobile phone and internet penetration. According to a government survey in the previous fiscal year, there were 56.8 million mobile phone users in 2017-18 against a total population of 54 million, implying a penetration rate of more than 100 percent.
In fact, 4G availability in Yangon is currently the fourth highest in ASEAN at over 80 percent, trailing Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta but ahead of Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Manilla, according to a May report by OpenSignal.
In Myanmar, there are three foreign operators – Norway’s Telenor, Qatar’s Ooredoo and MyTel, which is run by the Vietnamese military. The fourth operator, Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) is State-owned.
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27 September 2018