Myanmar’s government is planning to allocate 1800MHz spectrum to the nation’s cellcos in March 2017, the Myanmar Times reports, citing a senior Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) official. The 4G-compatible frequencies were expected to be distributed before the end of 2016, but are now due to be handed out in the first quarter of 2017. U Myo Swe, the deputy director of the MCIT’s Post and Telecommunications Department, was quoted as saying that the spectrum would be allocated to all operators in March, and that the frequencies would be made available to all operators equally. The reason for the delay was not specified, however. It was also unclear whether the nation’s fourth mobile operator – a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel, a consortium of local companies and a state-backed firm which is expected to launch services next year – would be included in the process.
All three of the nation’s active cellcos are keen to use the 1800MHz band to either launch or expand their LTE services. Norwegian-owned Telenor Myanmar and state-backed provider Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) had previously registered their interest in bidding for spectrum in the 2600MHz band – the sale of which was completed last month – to the same end, but both operators ultimately chose not to participate in the tender.