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Mismatch of supply and demand for SIMs in Myanmar

Last month in Yangon, I said to a group of Parliamentarians that I hoped there would be no SIM riots in Myanmar similar to those that occurred when competition was introduced in Bangladesh and Pakistan. A riot is a crude response to a mismatch of supply and demand. Looks like the mismatch exists in Myanmar, but that the people are a lot more sophisticated. They have created a secondary market and are making money from the mismatch. Much better response to toppling tables and breaking glass.

Reports from Yangon and Mandalay indicate that the average price for SIMs is K5000, with some going as high as K40,000.

However, representatives from Ooredoo remain confident that by the end of the month, when their SIMs will be available in any of the company’s 6000 retailers nationwide, the black market will “disappear”.

So far, the SIMs have only had a limited release in Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw, with the larger launch coming at the end of August.

“We will try to make the black market disappear this month … We’ll make sure there’s an equal balance of supply and demand,” said U Myint Zaw, a spokesperson for Ooredoo.

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