Amsterdam-headquartered international telecoms group Vimpelcom is believed to have pulled out of the race for one of two unified telecoms licences in Myanmar, TMT Finance reports, citing sources familiar with the process. It is thought that Vimpelcom has backed out due to Myanmar’s complex regulatory environment and uncertain political climate. The group was one of 90 companies to submit as expression of interest (EoI) in the licences earlier this year, but its participation in the tender was arguably always in doubt in light of its intention to offload its struggling Beeline units in nearby Cambodia and Laos.
According to TMT Finance, between ten and 15 operators are expected to be shortlisted, having met the government’s pre-qualification requirements. The concessions themselves are expected to cost somewhere between USD200 million and USD500 million, with the tender tentatively scheduled for June 2013, despite an ongoing investigation into corruption, which industry insiders believe could delay the process indefinitely.