For the past 20 years the telecoms industry has seen its “golden age”, even growing fast enough to catapult its most powerful figure, Carlos Slim, to the head of the Forbes Rich List. This growth is now beginning to slow and industry analysts Ovum predict that by 2018 the market will see its first decline. Until then, new phone connections will continue to grow by approximately 4% per annum, rising from 6.5 billion to 8.1 billion – more than today’s worldwide total population. Revenues won’t rise nearly as much as this, likely due to the lower incomes of the few remaining markets that telecoms companies will target in the meantime.
Myanmar has previously been highlighted as one of those markets and this week it emerged that the Myanmarese government would be inviting both Orange and Vodafone to pitch to them with the idea of a leading telecoms company partnering with their state run mobile phone operator, MPT. The idea behind inviting these particular network operators to the party is based on Orange coming second in the previous round of bidding for spectrum space in Myanmar and Vodafone now being on everyone’s lips after signing the 3rd largest deal ($130b) in telecoms history.
Both companies offer exciting opportunities to quickly capitalise on the fact Myanmar only have a current mobile phone subscription rate of 9%. To put that into perspective, neighbouring Thailand has a subscription rate of 110%.