Ooredoo has announced the availability of its voice calls and internet services in three of Myanmar’s major cities, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, as part of final preparations for commercial launch later this month.
As Ooredoo works towards a commercial launch, coverage will rapidly extend beyond these three main cities to include 68 cities and towns by 15 August 2014.
Initially, Ooredoo will provide a bundle of services free of charge in a kick off promotion. To participate customers need to register and purchase a SIM card for 1,500 kyats ($1.50). SIM cards are readily available from one of Ooredoo’s 6,500 dealers.
Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo said: “During the past year Ooredoo has set out to break down all the barriers that have limited the Myanmar people’s access to the best quality voice and fastest internet experience. Our aim is to support Myanmar’s people and help them achieve their vast potential. We believe the services we provide will be transformational and have the ability to bring change to every aspect of our customer’s lives, from education, to healthcare, in traditional sectors like agriculture as well as driving modern-day ICT development and innovation. As a Group we are passionate about the ability of our technology to enable human growth, particularly in nations aspiring for a better, more connected future, and no-where is this more true than in Myanmar.”
Ross Cormack, CEO Ooredoo Myanmar, commented: “We are so excited to have met our commitment to bring mobile telecommunications to the people of Myanmar, edging us ever closer to being able to serve the nation’s huge demand for mobile technology. As we undertake final preparations for launch and optimise the network, we would like to extend an invitation to those living in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon to try out our next-generation technology, hence our offer of free services during this time. By August 15 we will deliver high definition voice calls, stronger signal and fast internet everywhere we have coverage. We are working hard to deliver our services to as many people as possible and ensure ready availability of SIMs and affordable compatible devices. We are confident that the feedback from our new customers will assist us greatly in enhancing our network in time for our commercial launch.”
“A properly functioning telecoms network will spur innovation in other critical industries – such as education, healthcare and finance – and contribute to overall socioeconomic development,” says Vivek Roy, Research Analyst in Ovum’s Asia Pacific Research Practice.
Ooredoo plans to invest $15bn in the next 15 years and roll out almost 1,000 3G base stations to cover 30% to 40% of Myanmar’s population in 2014. In the next five years, Ooredoo aims to offer voice and data services to 97% of the population. NSN is the network partner of Ooredoo in Myanmar.
But the first phase of Ooredoo’s network launch is just the beginning for both Ooredoo and Myanmar. “Ooredoo will need to begin partnering with more tower companies and backhaul infrastructure providers as it tries to expand network in rural parts of Myanmar,” says Roy. “This will require more capex, planning, and patience. Interestingly, the biggest city has just over five million people and 75% of the population lives in rural areas,” he says.