MTN misses out on Myanmar licence

MTN has missed out on one of the two lucrative telecommunications licences up for grabs in Myanmar.

Norwegian operator Telenor announced that it had been declared a successful applicant for a nationwide telecommunications licence in Myanmar, along with Qatari firm Qtel (Ooredoo).

Eleven foreign companies were short-listed in their bid to supply telecommunications infrastructure in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

These included: Singapore Telecommunications, KDDI CorpDigicel, Axiata, Bharti AirtelMTN, Vietnam’s Viettel, Orange and Millicom International Cellular.

Myanmar is one of the world’s last telecoms frontiers, with only 9% of its 60 million people at most having mobile phones. But faced with big investments and uncertain returns, some bidders dropped out of the auction including  Vodafone Group and China Mobile who said it did not meet their “internal investment criteria.”.

In a statement released today (27 June 2013), MTN expressed disappointed in missing out on the opportunity to operate a telecommunications network in Myanmar.

This followed the announcement today of two successful bidders for operating licences by the country’s Telecommunications Operator Tender Evaluation and Selection Committee.

The MTN Consortium, which included Myanmar-based Amara Communications and M1 Telecom Limited, was part of the highly competitive bid process involving 11 other international operators.

“In keeping with our strategy to continue exploring and evaluating suitable opportunities for further growth in developing countries, MTN still considers Myanmar an attractive market,” the operator said.

“To this end, we will review other options as they become available, and make a decision after the appropriate due consideration.”

Telenor boasts 148 million mobile subscriptions with operations in 11 markets and in 18 additional markets through its ownership in VimpelCom.

The government has said it will finalise the 15-year licences by September and operators will need to launch services within nine months.

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MTN misses out on Myanmar licence