Myanmar incumbents raise concerns over new mobile licensee

19 Feb 2016

The planned introduction of a fourth operator to Myanmar’s wireless market has sparked concerns that the newcomer will be given an unfair advantage, the Myanmar Times reports. In an interview with the paper, Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg expressed doubts that the newcomer, which will be a joint venture between a foreign partner and a consortium of eleven local companies, will be held to the same standards as Telenor Myanmar and Ooredoo Myanmar. ‘What’s important is that we were invited in on the basis that there would be four players, and that the fourth player would have the same terms we had,’ Mr Furberg explained, adding: ‘The government has to ensure that the fourth player comes in with the same rollout requirements and with the same licence fee payments as we have paid.’

Rene Meza, the CEO of fellow incumbent Ooredoo said that there were no indicators that fairness would be an issue with regard to the fourth licence, although the company did raise the matter with the government to ensure that ‘a level playing field from the fees all the way to the licence obligations… are taken into consideration when a final decision is made.’

The paper also quoted a source close to the licensing process, who said that the new player is unlikely to pay the same amount as Telenor and Ooredoo, as changes in the market since the allocation of the pair’s licences have decreased the value of the fourth concession. The source did assuage some concerns regarding network rollouts, however, stating that rural coverage would be an important part of the new player’s mandate.