Norway-headquartered operator group Telenor plunged into the red after booking an impairment loss of NOK6.5 billion ($779.4 million) on its operations in Myanmar, citing the deteriorating security and human rights situation and worsening economic and business outlook.

In an earnings statement, Telenor said the overall situation in the country is unstable and it sees limited prospects for improvement. With limited visibility on developments in Myanmar, it excluded its operations in the country from its full-year outlook.

Telenor Myanmar said prolonged mobile internet restrictions cut daily subscription and traffic revenue by about halve since authorities ordered a nationwide shutdown of mobile data on 15 March, following a coup on 1 February.

Total revenue fell 25 per cent year-on-year to NOK1.39 billion, while the operator posted an operating loss from the country of NOK6.34 billion compared with an operating profit of NOK408 million in Q1 2020.

On the positive side it added 2 million subs in Myanmar Q1, increasing its user base to 18.2 million at end-March. Mobile ARPU dipped 3.7 cent to NOK26.00.

Telenor called on the authorities to “immediately reinstate unimpeded communications and respect the right to freedom of expression and human rights”.

The impairment charge led to Telenor booking a total group net loss of NOK3.89 billion in the January to March quarter, compared with a profit of NOK698 million a year earlier, with total revenue slipping 6.7 per cent to NOK28.9 billion.