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

Category Archives: Myanmar

Next up in Myanmar: Explosive growth in mobile financial services

The secret of success is how bad things are. And things are not very good with regard to banking and financial services in the country with the second lowest population density in Asia: In Myanmar cash is king. Fewer than one in ten of its 53m people has a bank account. But an explosion in […]

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 […]

Challenges of mobile financial services in Myanmar

We have not worked on mobile money in Myanmar. But now that mobile penetration is quite high, time is ripe for mobile financial services. Here is a description of the challenges: The biggest challenge for anyone in this business is the distribution network. Myanmar is such a big country. We’re now in about 70% of […]

What we said back in 2013 about need to build capacity and prioritize regulatory tasks

In the course of teaching a course for the staff of the Post and Telecom Department of the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communication, I had occasion to look again at the comments we had submitted back on December 2013 for a consultation on draft regulations for the sector. This is from a comment on […]

VietTel promises much in Myanmar: USD 1.5 Billion and same as domestic roaming in GMR

In relation to past promises, USD 1.5 billion may not be much, but I place little weight on promises of investment anyway. More significant is VietTel’s promise to allow roaming at domestic-like prices in the Greater Mekong Region. Now this too has been talked about. But not acted upon so far. Our suggestion back in […]

Nay Pyi Taw, 2013 and 2017

Just over four years ago, in August 2013, Helani Galpaya and I came to Nay Pyi Taw to deliver the regulatory module of a multi-day course offered by a number of different organizations, including the GSMA and the World Bank. For me, it the second visit to Myanmar and the first to Nay Pyi Taw, […]

What I communicated to Myanmar decision makers on universal service funds back in 2013, at the start of the reforms

I understand universal service strategy formulation is moving forward in Myanmar these days. I looked back to see what we said four years ago. Can still live with it (though I would add some recommendations based on subsequent thinking). 3. Focus one-off subsidies solely on capital expenditures, to improve targeting and reduce leakages and avoid […]

Zeroing in on zero-rating in Myanmar

Zero-rating is a hot topic in the ICT policy and regulatory discourse. When a specific application or content is zero-rated, the user may consume an unlimited amount of that specific content without incurring data charges. One school of thought believes that zero-rated content acts as an on-ramp to the Internet, others argue that it violates the […]

Experiences at the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Institute

I recently had the opportunity to participate at the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Institute 2017 held at the University of Oxford thanks to the generous funding from the Ford Foundation. A variety of topics pertaining to Internet governance such as Internet architecture, net neutrality and multistakeholderism were discussed.  The sometimes-divergent views from those from those from […]

Myanmar online freelancing platform Chate Sat

I have been asked several times about the feasibility of national online freelancing platforms. There are a few in Sri Lanka. According to this report, it appears that a platform has emerged in Myanmar too. First prize goes to Honey Mya Win. She founded her startup with her programmer sister less than a year ago […]

Proportion of Facebook users in Myanmar

According to information obtained from the Facebook advertising portal, we calculate that 29 percent of Myanmar’s population has a Facebook account. I wanted to cross check from our 2016 survey. We found 35 percent of the mobile users were also Facebook users. The base here is smaller (not the entire population by telephone users in […]

What we missed when commenting on the Myanmar Telecom Law back in 2013

Hearing the many reports on prosecutions under section 66(d) of the Law that was enacted in 2013, I went back to my files. In the extensive comments we provided there is nothing that refers to the offenses sections. The offenses chapter is peculiarly drafted. Section 65 is similar to what is found in any law […]

Myanmar’s walled garden has holes, big ones. Maybe enough to drive a truck through

The debate on zero rating has been heavy on overwrought analogies and light on actual evidence. Here is evidence from focus groups of people who actually use zero rating in Myanmar. Research conducted by Peter Cihon and Helani Galpaya with support from Mozilla Foundation and others. Perception and visibility aside, users do not remain within […]

Now that telecom is fixed, Myanmar government should focus on electricity

We have been of the opinion that electricity is an important as ICTs in putting money in people’s pockets and hope in their hearts. We have worked on how to improve electricity service and continue to work on different aspects of what is a multi-faceted problem. We would love to work on electricity in Myanmar. […]

Greater spectrum flexibility will speed up 4G availability in Myanmar

I have yet to receive a good answer to the question of why regulators require specific spectrum bands to be used for specific modes of “last mile” technologies. The most persuasive reasons have been tied to revenue maximization for government. The technical reasons are not very persuasive. It appears the Myanmar government is going to […]

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