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Why the Myanmar mobile licenses were delayed

It appears that the finalization of the rules that we commented on is the cause of the delay in issuing licenses to Telenor and Ooredoo. This is not really a bad thing. It is always better to have the rules embodied in generally applicable law and rules than in individual licenses (which would have been the alternative approach).

“We are working on finalising five applicable rules for the Telecom Law by the end of January. We have already negotiated with foreign telecom operators about applying detailed rules and regulations of the law so they are able to start their businesses,” he said, adding that the five provisions have already been sent to the Attorney-General’s Office. “After we get approval of cabinet, we will issue telecom licences.”

Passage of the new rules comes as the government seeks to liberalise a sector that has until now been controlled by state operator Myanma Posts and Telecommunications.

Another PTD director, U Soe Naing, said the department had been unable to meet the original deadline due to the need for official translations into English as well as a “differences” of opinion that need to be resolved between the working groups set up to write the provisions.

“We have to examine the differences face to face and we have to publish both English and Myanmar versions of the law. Because of these factors the process has been delayed,” said U Soe Naing, adding that despite the delays the Myanmar Investment Commission granted investment approval to both companies on January 8.

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