Tag Archives: Mobile

Telecoms in Myanmar

DEREK SARCHET

As Myanmar continues to progress towards more liberal political institutions, one of the key demands President Thein Sein has made to foreign investors and governments is that they deliver a quick “democratic dividend” to build support for further reforms. Previously dominated by a few military elites, Myanmar is emerging from decades of a centrally planned economy, so foreign investors face almost entirely greenfield opportunities in many sectors. The previous system of institutionalized cronyism led to dominant, but lumbering, monopolies that failed to deliver even the most basic services effectively. Electricity is sparse and the state’s only telecommunications firm, Myanmar Post & Telecommunications (MPT), is so inefficient that until recently, it could cost up to $2,000 just to purchase a SIM card. Naturally, this led to very low cell phone penetration rates and has made mobile the preserve of the well-connected.
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