Prolonged talks delay formation of Myanmar's fourth operator

14 Jul 2016

The establishment of Myanmar’s fourth cellco has been delayed by prolonged negotiations between the three stakeholders in the new firm: government shareholder Star High Public Company Ltd, Vietnamese operator Viettel and Myanmar National Telecom Holding, a consortium of local companies. The Myanmar Times cites a source familiar with the matter as saying that talks between the trio have encountered a number of sticking points, particularly around decision-making and the role of the future CEO, and financing. Commenting on the talks, U Zaw Oo, the chair of the joint venture formation and tender selection committee said: ‘We are going into very detailed negotiations. The stakeholders think it is important to get everything onto the table and try to get an agreement rather than wait and see.’

Meanwhile, the unnamed source also stated that the new company could incorporate the existing business of MECTel, which, along with Star High Public Company Ltd, is owned by military-controlled Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). MECTel currently operates as an MVNO over the network of Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT). ‘As a general principle, the idea is to leverage MECTel’s assets – at least those ones that can be commercially used – as well as the existing subscriber base, to make sure there [are] four operators, not five,’ the source explained, adding: ‘The idea is also that MECTel, through Star High, together with an international operator and the local consortium, becomes a full part of the licensed telecom landscape consisting of four telecom operators.’