Qatar pledges $15b for Myanmar license

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ooredoo myanmarOoredoo, Qatar’s national telecom company – formerly Qatar Telecom – said on June 5 that it would invest $15 billion in rolling out a telecommunications network across Myanmar, should it win one of two licences currently being tendered in the country.

The company would roll out a 3G data network, promising to reach 90 per cent of the population within two years if it wins a license. This would be far faster than the license requirements of reaching 75 per cent voice service coverage in 60 months.

The investment would be made over “the lifetime of the license,” said Ooredoo’s Chief Strategy Officer Jeremy Sell. A license is granted for 15 years.

Sell said Ooredoo could eventually take a 35 per cent share of the mobile-phone market in Myanmar and is looking to form partnerships with distributors, retail and financial services companies in the country to help sell its products. The country’s mobile penetration rate could eventually reach 140 per cent, he estimated.

Qatar’s pledge is far higher than the recently made announcement by another bidder, Caribbean-based Digicel – backed by investor George Soros – which said it will invest up to $9 billion, of which $6.6 billion would flow directly into the country, and create 124,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Meanwhile, India’s mobile phone operator Barthi Airtel, member of Barthi Group of businessman Sunil Bharti Mittal, which is also bidding for an operator license in Myanmar, has said it “may” invest up to $1 billion in a mobile phone network roll out if granted the license.

Sunil Barthi Mittal, who attended the World Economcic Forum on East Asia held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital, from June 5 to 7, said Airtel plans to bring its low-tariff, high volume business model to the country and would be able to reach the required coverage in 3 years and not in 60 months as required.

“We made a very serious bid and I think the Indian business model works very well here. Massive roll out, rural roll out, low tariffs, and we bring all that to the table,” Mittal said.

However, estimates say that a mobile phone network roll out in virtually untouched Myanmar would require at least $2 billion in initial investment.

Of the other bidders, Vodafone and China Mobile, recently withdrew their bids, saying that the Myanmar government’s requirements do not meet “internal investment criteria.” China Mobile’s pull-out might have also to to with soured relations between Myanmar and Beijing.

The final bidding round for two licenses is expected to end on June 27 with the winners being announced.

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey predicted that the telecom sector’s contribution to Myanmar’s GDP will increase to $6.4 billion by 2030 from just $100 million in 2010, with the number of jobs in the sector rising to 240,000 from currently 2,600.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ooredoo, Qatar’s national telecom company – formerly Qatar Telecom – said on June 5 that it would invest $15 billion in rolling out a telecommunications network across Myanmar, should it win one of two licences currently being tendered in the country.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

ooredoo myanmarOoredoo, Qatar’s national telecom company – formerly Qatar Telecom – said on June 5 that it would invest $15 billion in rolling out a telecommunications network across Myanmar, should it win one of two licences currently being tendered in the country.

The company would roll out a 3G data network, promising to reach 90 per cent of the population within two years if it wins a license. This would be far faster than the license requirements of reaching 75 per cent voice service coverage in 60 months.

The investment would be made over “the lifetime of the license,” said Ooredoo’s Chief Strategy Officer Jeremy Sell. A license is granted for 15 years.

Sell said Ooredoo could eventually take a 35 per cent share of the mobile-phone market in Myanmar and is looking to form partnerships with distributors, retail and financial services companies in the country to help sell its products. The country’s mobile penetration rate could eventually reach 140 per cent, he estimated.

Qatar’s pledge is far higher than the recently made announcement by another bidder, Caribbean-based Digicel – backed by investor George Soros – which said it will invest up to $9 billion, of which $6.6 billion would flow directly into the country, and create 124,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Meanwhile, India’s mobile phone operator Barthi Airtel, member of Barthi Group of businessman Sunil Bharti Mittal, which is also bidding for an operator license in Myanmar, has said it “may” invest up to $1 billion in a mobile phone network roll out if granted the license.

Sunil Barthi Mittal, who attended the World Economcic Forum on East Asia held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital, from June 5 to 7, said Airtel plans to bring its low-tariff, high volume business model to the country and would be able to reach the required coverage in 3 years and not in 60 months as required.

“We made a very serious bid and I think the Indian business model works very well here. Massive roll out, rural roll out, low tariffs, and we bring all that to the table,” Mittal said.

However, estimates say that a mobile phone network roll out in virtually untouched Myanmar would require at least $2 billion in initial investment.

Of the other bidders, Vodafone and China Mobile, recently withdrew their bids, saying that the Myanmar government’s requirements do not meet “internal investment criteria.” China Mobile’s pull-out might have also to to with soured relations between Myanmar and Beijing.

The final bidding round for two licenses is expected to end on June 27 with the winners being announced.

A recent report by consulting firm McKinsey predicted that the telecom sector’s contribution to Myanmar’s GDP will increase to $6.4 billion by 2030 from just $100 million in 2010, with the number of jobs in the sector rising to 240,000 from currently 2,600.

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