Telenor CEO dials down Myanmar investment figure as deployment details emerge

30 Aug 2013

Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor has clarified its investment plans for new market Myanmar, Reuters reports, with CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas indicating that the total CAPEX figure is likely to be under USD2 billion. He told the news agency: ‘It is going to be less than what we invested in total in Pakistan. Some [analysts] have used Pakistan as a benchmark and implied that it could be as much as what we invested in Pakistan, but it will not be [that high]’.

Telenor, which was awarded one of two mobile licences in June this year, has said it will roll out voice coverage to 83% of the country and data coverage to 78% within the next five years. For its part, fellow licence recipient Ooredoo (formerly Qtel) has pledged to cover 84% of the country with both voice and data services by the same date. The Qatari firm raised eyebrows prior to the licence tender when it suggested that it would invest at least USD15 billion in the country if its bid proved successful.

Last month both companies outlined plans to charge MMK1,500 (USD1.50) for SIM cards, a fraction of the MMK200,000 fee recently being charged by state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT). In addition, local calling rates will be set at MMK25 per minute by the newcomers, around half the fee charged by the incumbent. Ooredoo has said it will roll out 240,000 SIM card points of sale, dwarfing Telenor’s planned 70,000.

According to government sources, France-based Orange Group, which reportedly ranked third-placed in the tender, is prepared to step in should either Telenor or Ooredoo fail to meet the various requirements imposed on them.