State-backed telco Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) has threatened to take action against retailers if they break sale agreements, Eleven Myanmar writes. The incumbent is attempting to curb the sale of its SIM cards on the black market, after severe shortages of the cards sparked an increase in illegal sales. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, MPT sold 700,000 SIMs in the first ten days of September but believes that only 480,000 are in use whilst the remaining 220,000 are in the hands of black marketers who are selling the cards at more than ten times their retail price of MMK1,500 (USD1.51). MPT has temporarily halted all sales of its SIM cards and is threatening to take action against any of its distributors that are breaking the embargo. The telco currently has 13 companies selling its SIMs and is scrutinising a further 30 that have applied for wholesale dealer status.
An official from MPT’s economic department explained: ‘We told them that we are trying to stop the black market [in SIM cards]. We will give a first warning to [dealers] and the next time we find out they are selling the SIM cards along with handsets and top-up cards, we will stop selling SIM cards to them. They will have to take responsibility for the shops which they sold SIM cards to. The black market will slowly disappear if we do it like this. We are still scrutinising the list of companies who applied to be dealers.’