Myanmar’s fourth mobile operator, MyTel, signalled its readiness to launch commercial service by completing a ceremonial first call between government officials in capital city Nay Pyi Taw and Vietnam, The Irrawaddy reported.

MyTel is building out a 4G-only network and aims to reach 90 per cent of the country’s population when it launches in the coming weeks. It opened branches across the country and hired about 2,000 people.

Meanwhile, Amara Communications, which acquired 4G spectrum in late 2016, kicked off a campaign in Yangon to promote its 4G+ data service ahead of a commercial launch by end-Q1, Myanmar Times reported. The company paid about $120 million for 2.6GHz spectrum licences in two regions. The company was established in Myanmar in 2011 to invest in the country’s rapidly developing telecoms market.

MyTel, a joint venture between a consortium of 11 local companies and Vietnam-based Viettel, was awarded the country’s fourth mobile licence in January 2017. It was issued a nationwide telecommunications licence by the Ministry of Transport and Communications last month.

Together with military-backed Viettel, the operator said it will invest nearly $1.5 billion to deploy 7,200 base stations nationwide.

The 4G newcomers will enter a highly competitive mobile market where state-owned MPT maintained a 48 per cent market share at end-2017, followed by Telenor Myanmar (37 per cent) and Ooredoo Myanmar (14 per cent), latest data from GSMA Intelligence shows. The country recently surpassed the 50 million subscriber milestone.

Additional 4G data players are due to enter: Global Technology Group, an ISP in Myanmar, announced in October 2017 it would launch LTE wireless broadband service for home and business users in 30 cities starting in April 2018. It also won 2.6GHz spectrum in one region in an October 2016 auction.