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New law passed in Myanmar; When will the investment begin?

The legislature has completed its work and the bill awaits the President’s signature. But the actual legislation with 70 amendments from what potential investors saw is yet to see the light. And most of the detail (“the devil is in the detail”) will be in subsidiary legislation. Another nugget that has emerged is that Ooredoo is planning to invest USD 15 billion while Telenor is planning to invest USD 2 billion.

MP Phone Myint Aung said the move would mean “international operators can launch their operations. They are waiting for this bill.”

The bill still requires the signature of President Thein Sein to come into effect.

“We have not yet had an opportunity to review the legislation but look forward to the final approval of the Telecommunications Law and to also reviewing the implementing regulations,” Telenor said in a statement.

“A clear and stable regulatory and legislative framework that ensures predictability and a level and transparent playing field is important for a long-term investor such as Telenor.”

Telenor added that it was still finalising the terms and conditions of the licence.

The bid process has been closely watched as a bellwether of economic reforms aimed at driving rapid foreign investment in the nation, which has seen sweeping changes since a quasi-civilian government replaced the military regime in 2011.

Ooredoo, formerly known as Qatar Telecom, this month pledged to introduce “affordable” phone services to Burma next year as it pumps US$15 billion into the country as part of its 15-year 3G licence.

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