Myanmar’s Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) allocated 2x40MHz of technology neutral spectrum in the 1.8GHz band to the country’s four mobile operators.
Under a direct allocation method, PTD gave the country’s four mobile operators – state-owned MPT, Telenor Myanmar, Ooredoo Myanmar and Mytel – the opportunity to acquire 2x10MHz of spectrum at a predetermined price of $80 million apiece.
Each operator must pay 40 per cent of the total spectrum fees, or $32 million, to PTD upon allocation of the licences. The remainder is due to be paid between the second and fourth year of the 12 year licence term.
All operators reserve the option to acquire up to an additional 2x10MHz in the same band on a first come, first served basis until the remaining 70MHz (2x35MHz) of the available spectrum is allocated. The option for additional spectrum will expire three years after the start of the licence period.
MPT and Telenor Myanmar initially applied to take part in an auction of 2.6GHz spectrum in 2016, but opted to withdraw and wait for the 1.8GHz allocation, which was delayed until March.
Telenor Myanmar is the second largest mobile operator in the country with nearly 19 million subscribers and a 37 per cent market share. However, only 405,000 of Telenor’s users are 4G subscribers, compared to 5 million for rival Ooredoo (some 52 per cent of its customer base), according to GSMA Intelligence.
Lars Erik Tellmann, CEO of Telenor Myanmar, said: “Over the last ten months we have gradually introduced 4G in 19 cities and towns, utilising existing spectrum. We are in the midst of enabling 4G/LTE on 1800MHz on our network, and hope to expand services to more cities and towns in coming months – including an impending launch of 4G/LTE in Yangon very soon.”
MPT, with a 44 per cent market share, said its network reaches 98 per cent of the country’s population, but only offers 4G service in parts of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. It now plans to expand 4G coverage nationwide in partnership with Japan-based operator KDDI.
In early January Myanmar officially awarded the country’s fourth mobile licence to a venture between Vietnam’s Viettel and a consortium of local companies operating under the name Myanmar National Tele & Communications (MNTC), which will operate under the Mytel name.