Myanmar’s (Union of Burma) state-run regulator and monopoly communications service provider Mayanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) has announced plans to expand the country’s limited telecoms infrastructure by adding 10,000 new mobile lines, according to the Myanmar Times. The telco is to roll out the new lines in the cities of Mogok and Mongshu in the southern state of Shan, and Pharkant in the northern Kachin state. The build is part of attempts by the Myanmar government to boost the country’s low teledensity, which stood at just 0.13% at the start of 2004. MPT is also in the process of digitalising its cellular network that connects the country’s two biggest cities, Mandalay and the capital Yangon (Rangoon); the upgrade is due to be completed in June.
MPT is the sole provider of telecoms services in Myanmar, though the market is expected to be liberalised within the next few years. It offers local and long-distance telephony over a combination of analogue and microwave links and a trunk radio system, and international communications via satellite (using the Intelsat, Thaicom and Inmarsat services) and the Asian SEA-ME-WE-3 cable. Mobile services are provided via D-AMPS, GSM and CDMA networks in the major urban areas, with a current capacity of around 35,000 lines. The telco also offers wireless in the local loop (WiLL) services to less developed areas over a Digital European Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) network supplied by Ericsson and launched in 1997.