Telenor Group, the major shareholder of Thailand's Total Access Communication (DTAC), plans to introduce commercial third-generation (3G) mobile service in Myanmar next year after winning a licence in a highly competitive tender.
The Norwegian firm aims to complete the nationwide roll-out of its 2G and 3G network using high-speed packet access (HSPA) technology within five years under an undisclosed investment.
Telenor will also install 4G-ready base stations using long-term evolution technology for Myanmar to match the sophistication of leading networks worldwide, said Glenn Mandelid, communications director of Telenor Asia.
"A full range of mobile services, both 2G and 3G mobile data service, will be commercially launched next year," he said, adding that telecom service would drive social development and economic growth in the country.
The Myanmar government last Thursday awarded telecom licences to Telenor and Qatari firm Ooredoo, opening one of the world's last virtually untapped mobile phone markets.
Telenor and Ooredoo were selected as the two successful applicants from 11 global consortiums. At least 91 companies and consortiums had expressed interest in bidding for the two 15-year mobile licences.
Mr Mandelid said Telenor's exact investment figure for the mobile network installation will be settled after the Myanmar government finishes its final terms and conditions for the licence.
He said Myanmar, with its population exceeding 55 million, is probably the last large Asian country that remains untapped. Its relatively low usage rate of less than 10% presents a huge opportunity for a company like Telenor.
"With our competence and experience from similar situations in other Asian markets _ the group's largest revenue source _ we're confident of being able to roll out services that will benefit the people of Myanmar," he said.
Mr Mandelid said DTAC is the most popular operator among Myanmar people living in Thailand.
The company's experience with prepaid packages, customer support and distribution is seen as key in building operations in the next-door nation.
"We aim to take the market leader position in Myanmar," said Mr Mandelid.
About the author
- Writer: Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn
Position: Deputy Business Editor