Vietnam’s Viettel Global plans to invest $800 million to set up operations in Myanmar, which has just opened to foreign competition with the entry of Ooredoo and Telenor this year.

State-owned Viettel, which participated in Myanmar’s auction last year along with ten other shortlisted foreign investors, is keen to break into the emerging market with a mobile penetration of about 11 per cent.

Together with a foreign partner, which was not named, it will set up Viettel Myanmar with a total investment of $1.8 billion, Tuoi Tre News reported.

Spurred on by competition from the two new foreign players, state-owned incumbent Myanma Posts & Telecommunications (MPT) sold more than one million SIM cards in September. The incumbent, which signed a joint operating agreement with KDDI-Sumitomo in July, has about 9.2 million mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence.

Like MPT, a fourth mobile licensee – state-owned Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP) – is said to be looking for investment from a foreign operator, which could be Viettel Global. But Viettel has previously said it can cooperate with Ooredoo and Telenor in joint investment projects.

The firm is Viettel Group’s international investment unit and had revenues of VND10.1 trillion ($466 million) in the first nine months of the year and a pre-tax profit of VND2.1 trillion, Tuoi Tre said.

Back in January the company said it was exploring investment opportunities in Myanmar as well as additional African countries. It currently has operations in Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Haiti and Mozambique, and its investments in three African nationals are scheduled to start next year.