LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

The why and how of telecom reform in Myanmar

The significance of opinion leaders and influentials seeing how life is in other countries is under-appreciated.

Around 2000, because of my expertise, I started representing Myanmar at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on technological matters. As I traveled, I saw that neighboring countries were surpassing us. Once, in Cambodia, when I spotted a taxi driver with a cell phone, I thought, “A taxi driver isn’t supposed to have that!” I was also one of the first people in Myanmar to get the internet, and I realized that with just a few clicks, a kid from here could have the same access as one in Silicon Valley. In 2012 I joined the president’s advisory council. He had just begun accepting reforms, so in one meeting I nervously suggested: “Mr. President, we should consider telecom reform, because that could have a high impact on society.” I was shocked when he appointed me deputy communications minister.

The story was told in greater detail when U Thaung Tin spoke at CPRsouth 2017.

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