The Yangon City Development Committee is partnering with the private sector to build a broadband and fixed telephone line network across the region.
Although the first internet connections were established back in 2000, internet services in Myanmar still remain slow and unstable. The fixed broadband market remains highly underdeveloped, mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform and an unwillingness by operators to invest in fixed broadband infrastructure. Penetration stood at just 0.5% in 2016 and is predicted to increase at a slow rate during the five years to 2021.
Fixed line telephone penetration remains very low at just under 1% and has been gradually declining since 2014 due to the dominance and maturity of the mobile market. Penetration decreased from 1.00% in 2013 to 0.96% in 2016.
The big change in Myanmar’s telecom sector has been the entry of two foreign operators in the local mobile market, joining the former monopoly operator, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT). Buoyed by the success of the arrival of Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor. A license for a fourth mobile licence is scheduled to be awarded during 2016. The joint venture will be 51% owned by the SPV, whilst the foreign partner will hold the remaining 49%.
Much work remains to be done however, with Myanmar being the last underdeveloped telecommunication markets in Asia. Despite the fresh new focus on mobile services and the exploding growth in that sector, by 2016 only a few people had access to a fixed telephone line.
The lack of Internet related infrastructure is likely to restrict potential e-commerce investments in the country. The Internet is still not accessible in most parts of Myanmar other than the main cities. People may have 3G on mobile but not fibre optic connection. However, the rise of upcoming internet related businesses is arriving sooner rather than later. General internet service applications like Voice over IP, real estate webs, will be more popular in the future following the trend of other countries.
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