Ooredoo sells 1 million SIM cards in Myanmar, but users complain

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ooredoo-myanmarOoredoo Myanmar has sold more than 1 million SIM cards since the soft launch of its service here early in August, though technicians at the first foreign telecom provider in Myanmar admit their 3G network has yet to cover all townships in the country’s largest city, Yangon.

They said that 70 per cent of the SIM cards have been sold in Yangon and the rest in Mandalay and Naypyitaw, as the company races to add more transmission towers.

The company plans to have 12 million SIM cards on the market by the end of the year, they said, declining, however, to provide forecasts about how many would be sold. The technicians spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The company has yet to release official data on the number of its subscribers or forecasts, and it is only offering a 3G service which means that its access will be limited until it adds more transmission towers.

The fast sales, intended to pre-empt the launch of a service by Telenor Myanmar next month, have sparked complaints from some customers. They say the service remains inaccessible in some areas of Yangon, including heavily populated areas, and that its Internet packages are too expensive.

Some well-known cartoonists have even mocked the service on social media due to their inability to access it.

“I live in Kyauk Myaung so I can’t use Ooredoo services,” cartoonist Awpikyae said.

One customer said the signal was not available in Mayangone Township’s Kabaraye and Chaw Dwin Gone wards. “When I called the call center, they said there were not enough telecommunication towers set up in Kabar Aye so the signal strength was poor,” the customer said, adding that it was inconvenient for customers that the network was not citywide.

The signal is also weak Kyauk Myaung and Yankin townships, customers said.

Ooredoo sources admitted that “there are still big areas in Yangon with no coverage” and that these included sections of the downtown.

Some users say that despite Ooredoo’s promotions that describe its service as “high definition” it is difficult to hear what people are saying over the network, and that calls are frequently cancelled.

“Calls to numbers on MPT SIM cards from my Ooredoo number have been cut off as soon as I say ‘hello’ eight times,” one customer said. “They charged me 35 kyat ($0.036) even though the calls lasted only a second. I don’t mind paying the bill, but they should give better service,” one Ooredoo user from South Dagon said, adding that he was not expecting to be charged merely to say “hello”.

Most Internet users in Myanmar were interested in Ooredoo’s Internet packages because they promised to provide 3G Internet services. Sources at Ooredoo said their Internet connection is five times faster than connecting through state-run MPT because they have their own fibre-optic cable to Singapore.

Ooredoo says it has introduced a new concept of payment for Internet usage in Myanmar by charging customers by the volume of megabytes they use rather than the time spent surfing the net. Ooredoo has offered free use of Facebook in its initial promotion packages, but some customers complain that the packages are overpriced. A monthly package offers 1 gigabyte of Internet use for 13,000 kyat ($13.40).

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ooredoo Myanmar has sold more than 1 million SIM cards since the soft launch of its service here early in August, though technicians at the first foreign telecom provider in Myanmar admit their 3G network has yet to cover all townships in the country’s largest city, Yangon.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ooredoo-myanmarOoredoo Myanmar has sold more than 1 million SIM cards since the soft launch of its service here early in August, though technicians at the first foreign telecom provider in Myanmar admit their 3G network has yet to cover all townships in the country’s largest city, Yangon.

They said that 70 per cent of the SIM cards have been sold in Yangon and the rest in Mandalay and Naypyitaw, as the company races to add more transmission towers.

The company plans to have 12 million SIM cards on the market by the end of the year, they said, declining, however, to provide forecasts about how many would be sold. The technicians spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The company has yet to release official data on the number of its subscribers or forecasts, and it is only offering a 3G service which means that its access will be limited until it adds more transmission towers.

The fast sales, intended to pre-empt the launch of a service by Telenor Myanmar next month, have sparked complaints from some customers. They say the service remains inaccessible in some areas of Yangon, including heavily populated areas, and that its Internet packages are too expensive.

Some well-known cartoonists have even mocked the service on social media due to their inability to access it.

“I live in Kyauk Myaung so I can’t use Ooredoo services,” cartoonist Awpikyae said.

One customer said the signal was not available in Mayangone Township’s Kabaraye and Chaw Dwin Gone wards. “When I called the call center, they said there were not enough telecommunication towers set up in Kabar Aye so the signal strength was poor,” the customer said, adding that it was inconvenient for customers that the network was not citywide.

The signal is also weak Kyauk Myaung and Yankin townships, customers said.

Ooredoo sources admitted that “there are still big areas in Yangon with no coverage” and that these included sections of the downtown.

Some users say that despite Ooredoo’s promotions that describe its service as “high definition” it is difficult to hear what people are saying over the network, and that calls are frequently cancelled.

“Calls to numbers on MPT SIM cards from my Ooredoo number have been cut off as soon as I say ‘hello’ eight times,” one customer said. “They charged me 35 kyat ($0.036) even though the calls lasted only a second. I don’t mind paying the bill, but they should give better service,” one Ooredoo user from South Dagon said, adding that he was not expecting to be charged merely to say “hello”.

Most Internet users in Myanmar were interested in Ooredoo’s Internet packages because they promised to provide 3G Internet services. Sources at Ooredoo said their Internet connection is five times faster than connecting through state-run MPT because they have their own fibre-optic cable to Singapore.

Ooredoo says it has introduced a new concept of payment for Internet usage in Myanmar by charging customers by the volume of megabytes they use rather than the time spent surfing the net. Ooredoo has offered free use of Facebook in its initial promotion packages, but some customers complain that the packages are overpriced. A monthly package offers 1 gigabyte of Internet use for 13,000 kyat ($13.40).

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