Myanmar: Can coverage keep up with demand?

Posted on November 2, 2014  /  1 Comments

The telecom operators in Myanmar are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The demand for SIMs is so high that call and data quality is compromised. If they restrict supply, a black market develops. If they don’t, their image gets sullied.

I was pleased to read that Telenor had postponed its rollout in Yangon until it did some final tweaks on the network. All companies just have to keep throwing everything they have at the problem until the network is adequate to meet the demand.

Telenor, one of two foreign telecom firms granted licenses to operate in Burma, first launched its mobile phone network in Mandalay on Sept. 27, and one week later in Naypyidaw. The company followed Ooredoo of Qatar—which launched in August—and Burma’s state-backed telecoms operator Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), in offering cheap SIM cards to consumers in Burma’s biggest cities for the first time.

“We started selling SIMs in 8,000 shops in 44 townships of [Greater] Rangoon on Sunday,” said Soe Thu Tun, a Telenor Myanmar spokesman.

“We are now selling 1 million SIMs for Rangoon and 1 million for Mandalay and Naypyidaw but the number of SIM cards is not limited. We will sell as many as the customers want,” he said.


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