It was not long ago, that we thought the Myanmar would remain asleep whilst the rest of the world (save maybe North Korea) reaped the rewards of a vibrant telecommunications sector. Even a few short years ago, the only phone connectivity was through kiosks such the one depicted in the photo, a mobile SIM could cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. But things are changing. Myanmar is opening up. Two mobile operators have been licensed. A telecommunications act is imminent. Regulatory reforms are on the agenda.
The latest ICT statistics should be a sombre reminder that there is much still to be done. Fixed access paths per 100 stands at 1.1, whilst mobile SIMS per 100 stands at 2.6 according the latest World Bank statistics.
We at LIRNEasia will do what we can. Our CEO Helani Galpaya and Chair Rohan Samarajiva are currently in Naypitaw teaching a short regulatory course to government officials. This is just the beginning of our engagement. A baseline sector study and capacity development for civil society is also in the works for the near future.
Heres to waking up!