KDDI and Sumitomo of Japan have revealed plans to overhaul the mobile network of strategic partner Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), and hope to boost the state-backed telco’s network footprint from 2,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) to 5,000 by next spring. According to Nikkei, the Japanese partners will invest JPY200 billion (USD1.6 billion) in the improvement of MPT’s infrastructure during this time-frame. In addition, they are seeking to establish exclusive MPT dealerships in locations such as: Yangon, the largest city; Naypyidaw, the capital; and Mandalay. Further, the partners aim to raise the number of stores exclusively offering their smartphone products from five to 50 by next spring. They hope that the strategy will allow them to sell twelve million SIM cards per year and capitalise on the country’s low population penetration rate (54% at 31 March 2015).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MPT was Myanmar’s sole mobile service provider until the 2014 launches by Ooredoo of Qatar and Telenor of Norway. While the Japanese alliance was unsuccessful in the international licence tender, the companies were invited back by MPT to act as its strategic partners. As such, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in July 2014, under which KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM) will invest USD2 billion over the next ten years. For its part, MPT will share half of its earnings with its Japanese partners.