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Myanmar telecoms set to boom

The Government in the Southeast Asian country have invited foreign telecommunications companies to bid for use of 2 of their national licenses by January 25th. The move comes as the country, also known as Burma, seek to expand economic progression after years of nationalised services operated by a military regime. The 2 licenses are part of 4 which are being set up by the countries government, set to come into effect in June 2013.

So far, some of the worlds largest phone networks have expressed their interest in one of the two available licenses. These include Digicel, VNPT-Fujitsu, VimpleCom and Telenor. However, it is expected that more networks will join the bidding process, with competition amongst those interested set to be fierce. At the current time, mobile phone subscribers only account for 9% of the countries population. With a total of 55 – 60 million people, the opportunities for a phone network are huge, especially considering that neighbouring country Thailand have mobile phone subscribers as large as 110% of their population.

It remains to be one of the largest untapped markets left in the world, for both networks and phone manufacturers. As yet, it has been hard to value the opportunities in the market, but a telecoms executive in Thailand has mentioned “billions of dollars” being the figure needed. Since the news was released by the Myanmar Government, HTC, the large phone manufacturer, have announced that they too will be moving into the country to sell their mobile phones.

The future of the countries telecommunications system is yet to be seen, with many viewing the tender process as a test. It will signal the opportunities available in the region, as well as lend ideas to how the Government will approach any other licenses that they could make available in the future. This could mean huge changes in the way the population live and work, setting the country up for exciting times ahead.