Myanmar’s little-known fourth mobile operator, state-backed MecTel, has reduced voice and data rates to stay competitive with its rivals, which have slashed prices since the beginning of the year, the Myanmar Times reported.
A source familiar with the country’s business dealings told Mobile World Live that the operator is part of Myanmar Economic Corp (MEC), which is controlled by the military and has interests in many industry sectors.
The operator, which reportedly started offering mobile services in 2013, has quietly expanded its user base to 3.8 million, the Times said.
MecTel recently cut prices sharply, with on-net calls dropping to MMK21 (1.6 cents) per minute, off-net calls cut to MMK22 per minute and 1MB of data priced at MMK6 (less than half a cent). Its call rates were previously MMK50 per minute.
Last month incumbent Myanma Posts & Telecommunications (MPT) reduced the price of voice calls from MMK35 (2.7 cents) to MMK23 (1.8 cents) a minute, putting pressure on its two foreign rivals Ooredoo and Telenor, which launched services a year ago.
In May after Ooredoo introduced a promo offering data at MMK6 per megabyte, Telenor responded with an MMK5 per megabyte rate just hours later. Ooredoo had earlier cut its pay-as-you-go internet rates from MMK10 per megabyte to MMK6 to match Telenor’s offer.
MPT is the market leader with 14 million connections in Q2, followed by Telenor with 9.5 million and Ooredoo with 4.2 million, according to GSMA Intelligence.
MecTel is not listed as a mobile licence holder by the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
A month ago the Myanmar government invited local firms to step forward to bid for an additional mobile licence.
Back in May, state-owned ISP Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP) made clear its intention to form a consortium of local partners to bid for the country’s new mobile licence, marking it as a frontrunner.