Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) has formally awarded the nation’s long-awaited fourth telecoms licence to Myanmar National Tele & Communications (MNTC), a joint venture between Viettel (49%) – which is owned by Vietnam’s defence ministry – Star High Public Company (28%), a subsidiary of Myanmar military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), and Myanmar National Telecom Holding (23%), a consortium of eleven local firms. Reuters quotes Minister for Transport and Communication Thant Sing Maung as saying that the new provider: ‘will help advance telecommunication in townships, rural mountain towns and will contribute to improving transportation, healthcare and education necessary for the people living in rural areas.’
Precise details of the 15-year licence, such as quantum of spectrum and frequency allocations have not yet been disclosed, though Myanmar Times cites MNTC’s chief external officer, U Zaw Min Oo, as saying that the company paid USD300 million for the licence, far below the USD500 million paid by Ooredoo Myanmar and Telenor Myanmar in 2013 for their concessions. ‘The government fixed the USD300 million fee because [MNTC] entered the market later than the other operators, so they [would] have less market share,’ deputy director of the MCIT’s Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) U Myo Swe explained.
Meanwhile, further information regarding the newcomer’s operational plans are similarly scant, though U Zaw Min Oo stated that the company will provide more details at a press conference this weekend. The official noted that it would likely take around a year for the company to launch commercial services.