18 Aug 2014
Ooredoo has officially launched 3G services in Myanmar, but the cellco’s network is struggling to cope with the extreme level of demand, Telecomasia.net writes. After two weeks of trials – throughout which the Qatar-backed cellco offered free services to mobile users in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon – Ooredoo activated full commercial services on Friday, ending the monopoly of incumbent Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT). The service was available to around 7.8 million citizens across some 71 cities and towns at launch, although the cellco noted that it is rolling out new base stations and towers on a daily basis to meet the demand. The launch saw even greater demand than anticipated, with some dealers reportedly selling out of their allocation of SIMs – expected to last a month – in just two days. Despite the popularity of the new entrant’s services, some have criticised Ooredoo on its pricing, claiming that it is not competitive with MPT’s DSL packages. Ooredoo is charging MMK500 (USD0.51) for 30MB of data, or MMK12,000 for a monthly allocation of 1GB.
In related news, The Nation writes that a cut on the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable between Myanmar and Singapore on 12 August has reduced internet speeds for MPT to around a quarter of their usual speed. A spokesperson for the incumbent explained that whilst the damage is being repaired, traffic will be routed via overland links to China and Thailand.