Norwegian-owned cellco Telenor Myanmar will focus its efforts on improving data services as the market is approaching saturation, limiting the potential for signing up new subscribers, Reuters cites a company official as saying. The unit’s CEO Lars Erik Tellman told the agency in an interview that: ‘Super hyper growth has flattened … Those who wanted to have a SIM card already have one … The fight will turn into existing customers rather than new customers who have never had experiences with cell phones.’ Until now, Telenor has focused on targeting the mass market, offering low-cost basic services predominantly to users of a lower economic status. Although the cello continues to report strong take-up, adding 927,000 net new subscribers in Q3 2016, competition from rival Ooredoo Myanmar and greater penetration in rural areas saw the cellco’s ARPU in local currency drop by 28% y-o-y. Further elaborating on the shift of focus, Mr Tellman went on to say that the limited footprint of the nation’s fixed line networks and the limited access to PCs has kept broadband penetration low, but created huge demand for data services on smartphones. Illustrating the point, the official added that data services contributed around 40% of the company’s revenue in Q3 2016.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Myanmar was home to approximately 52.1 million mobile subscribers in June 2016 – equating to cellular penetration of around 99% – compared to 30.6 million a year earlier and just 9.5 million in mid-2014.