Myanmar’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) has received applications from 17 local companies to join a consortium that will become the nation’s fourth mobile network operator, Reuters writes, citing the deputy permanent secretary at the ministry, Chit Wai. The official explained that there is no limit on the number of local firms that can join the consortium, although only companies with registered capital of at least MMK3 billion (USD2.3 million) will be considered. The winning firms will be announced in September, following which the ministry will begin the process of selecting a foreign partner for the operator. The MCIT expects to allocate a 15-year mobile licence to the new operator by the end of the year, Chit Wai added.
TeleGeography notes that there is already an unofficial fourth mobile operator in Myanmar in the form of state-backed MECTel. The cellco, which is part of the Myanmar Economic Corp (MEC), controlled by the Myanmar military, began offering services in 2013 but does not hold a mobile licence and is not registered as a wireless provider by the MCIT.