The two largest mobile operators in Myanmar announced plans to accelerate their 4G rollouts, with the goal of reaching 300 townships by the year-end.

Telenor Myanmar, the second largest operator, said it aims to increase coverage from 255 townships currently. With more than 8,000 network sites nationwide, the operator said it now serves 19 million customers across all parts of the country, with coverage today standing at more than 75 per cent.

Amaresh Kumar, CMO of Telenor Myanmar, said: “We want more Myanmar people to enjoy the powerful internet, so we decided to fast track our network expansion plan to cover more townships this year.”

Last week market leader MPT said it plans to widen its LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) coverage to 300 townships by the end of 2018. CCO Reizo Umeda said the new deployments use 4×4 MIMO and carrier aggregation technology.

The companies have stepped up deployments as they face competition from new entrant MyTel, which launched services in March.

Ooredoo Myanmar, the nation’s third-largest mobile player, announced in February it expanded 4G coverage to 200 (67 per cent) of the country’s townships.

The operator currently leads the way in 4G connections: GSMA Intelligence data for Q2 showed 70 per cent of its customers were on LTE, compared with 15 per cent for Telenor and 5 per cent at MPT. However, in terms of overall market share the roles are reversed: MPT held a 47 per cent share; Telenor 34 per cent; and Ooredoo 17 per cent.

MyTel held a 2 per cent share.