Major consortium drops out of Myanmar race

A consortium consisting of Vodafone and China Mobile has withdrawn its bid for the hotly-contested telecoms licence in South East Asian country of Myanmar.

The consortium was one of 12 groups, including South African operator MTN, shortlisted to own and operate a nationwide network for an initial term of 15 years.

The Vodafone-China Mobile consortium was due to submit its final bid to the Myanmar authorities on 3 June.

The companies said in a joint statement on Friday (31 May):

“Following the publication of the final licence conditions on 20 May, the Vodafone-China Mobile consortium has reached the decision not to proceed with the process as the opportunity does not meet the strict internal investment criteria to which both Vodafone and China Mobile adhere.

“Vodafone and China Mobile will continue to watch Myanmar’s progress with interest and will give due consideration to any future opportunities that would meet the companies’ investment criteria.”

It is believed that up to 90 parties had expressed interest in bidding for a licence in Myanmar due to its attractive opportunity by virtue of its population (60 million) and low mobile penetration rate (approximately 5%).

However, the country has again been plagued by anti-Muslim violence this week, which continues to undermine the country’s attempts at stability, and political and economic reform.

Telcos in the running:

Network Country Subcribers
Axiata Malaysia 208 million
Bharti Airtel India 262 million
Digicel Carribean 13 million
France Telecom-Orange France 231 million
KDDI Japan 32 million
Millicom Luxembourg 42 million
MTN South Africa 189 million
Ooredoo (Qtel) Qatar 90 million
SingTel Singapore 445 million
Telenor Norway 133 million
Viettel Vietnam 61 million

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Major consortium drops out of Myanmar race