Wireless handsets reach remote capital

22 Oct 2009

The Associated Press reports that Myanmar’s authorities have allowed the first mobile phones to be used in its remote capital Naypyidaw, after previously banning them for security reasons. But few people are likely to be able to afford the new service, thanks to the MYK1.55 million (USD1,500) fee required by the government’s telecoms department. Myanmar’s ruling generals moved their entire government from the economic hub Yangon to Naypyidaw four years ago, after building the new administrative capital in secret over the previous three years. The military regime’s official explanation for its move was to place the capital in a more central location but analysts said the real reason lay in the generals’ paranoia about their own security. The junta’s main headquarters is completely hidden inside a hilly compound, open only to military officials. Until now military officials have used only walkie-talkies to communicate.