Incumbent advantage in Myanmar: MPT not doing badly

Posted on March 15, 2015  /  1 Comments

There is a certain arrogance in coverage of developing countries by Western reporters. They assumed that Ooredoo, managed by Westerners, and Telenor in particular would simply walk over MPT. That was the case in places like Bangladesh where the government did not act to reform the incumbent. But MPT is managed by KDD. They also did not take into account the advantage of having land. What customers want is the ability to make call and connect to the Internet. Without land, the new entrants cannot locate their BTSs in the right locations at the right time. Result: frustrated customers, some who bought the now cheaper MPT SIMs.

When Myanmar’s first foreign telecommunications companies, Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor, arrived last year, customers lined up for blocks to buy their inexpensive services, exhausting the supply of SIM cards within weeks and cheering their executives.

Six months later, state-owned Myanmar Posts & Telecommunications, which had for decades monopolized the market despite its generally outdated services, has added more new customers than its challengers combined.


1 Comment

  1. Radhika Gunawardena

    MPT is certainly going all out, and in no way are they getting left behind because of the private telcos. But I came across a news item last week which stated that the 3 operators have 2000, 1500 and 2000 towers. Not a great big difference between the number of towers. But since Ooredoo and Telenor are pretty much confined to the 3 big cities at the moment, the quality of their service is better than MPT. But if you’re not in one of those 3 cities, it doesn’t make much sense to have any other SIM but MPT.
    Also, there are apparently factions that are advocating that people don’t buy Ooredoo SIMs, because of the ownership of that company.