We tried very hard to get the Teleuse in Myanmar research findings disseminated before the big tidal wave of the 2015 Myanmar Election rolled in, washing away all else. But we were not completely successful and were somewhat disappointed in the amount of coverage we received. So we were very pleased to see the data being used in conversations about the election:
Since the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in 2014, unprecedented numbers of Myanmar citizens have obtained mobile phones, and with that internet access. A recent survey conducted by LIRNEasia on Myanmar’s ICT development found that 58 percent of households have access to a SIM card and 57 percent to a mobile phone handset.
The survey also found that 17 percent of all phone owners use the Facebook application, behind only those using “Voice over IP” applications such as Viber and Skype (24 percent) and chat applications like Whatsapp and Facebook messenger (20 percent). The majority of those using the internet do so to gain information about their community or the country, the survey found.
“Facebook is vital for many of us in Myanmar because it is the only platform that generates a lot of local content. Unlike other countries, we do not have many platforms, so everybody, whether they are businesses, media houses or activist organisations are all on Facebook,” said Ma Htaike Htaike Aung, program director for Myanmar ICT for Development Organization, a civil society group.