Qatar’s Ooredoo Group is planning to sell its Myanmar division to Singapore-based technology firm The One Matric Ventures (TOMV), Reuters writes, citing three people with knowledge of the matter. According to the sources, TOMV – which was founded and is led by Myanmar businessman Myo Myint Ohn – is in talks with several potential partners in Myanmar to help secure regulatory approval. No further details regarding the planned sale have been disclosed.
The departure of Ooredoo would mark the second major exit from Myanmar’s telecom sector since the country’s military seized power in early 2021, following the completion of the sale of Telenor Group’s Myanmar subsidiary in March this year. The Norwegian group had written off the value of the unit in May 2021 and agreed to sell the cellco to Lebanese investment firm M1 in July that year, but regulatory approval for the transaction was withheld until M1 found a local company – Shwe Bain Phyu Group (SBP) – to partner in ownership of the cellco. Explaining its decision to withdraw from Myanmar, the group cited the ‘worsening economic and business environment outlook and a deteriorating security and human rights situation’ following the coup, whilst pressure from the junta to install intercept equipment caused further tension: complying with the demands would have violated international sanctions on the junta, whilst refusing risked compromising the safety of its staff in Myanmar.
For its part Ooredoo has not yet offered an explanation regarding its decision to exit Myanmar but, as noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Ooredoo’s business has suffered since the junta took over. Ooredoo Myanmar claimed a total of 14.7 million mobile subscriptions at the end of 2020 but by June 2022 that figure had shrunk to less than 8.3 million.