Incumbent operator Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) is set to be ‘reborn’ through its recent partnership with Japanese operators KDDI and Sumitomo, MPT’s general manager U Khin Maung Tun told the Myanmar Times. The official explained that the new partners would help modernise the telco and patch up the operator’s shortcomings: ‘MPT has had a long existence in Myanmar but has no experience in competing with others. There is no experience in quick decision-making and marketing.’ MPT signed a ten-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Japanese pair early this month, under which the duo would invest USD2 billion via their joint venture KDDI Summit Global Myanmar (KSGM). Having begun negotiations early in 2014, the talks had taken longer than expected, although the MPT official put this down to the telco’s inexperience and caution: ‘We were very careful through the negotiations not to make any mistake. We had many difficult negotiations before we signed an agreement. It is our first experience partnering with a foreign firm.’
The development programme will see KSGM modernise MPT’s mobile network and Takashi Nagashima, KSGM’s managing director noted that the fact that MPT already has a nationwide commercial network gives the operator a ‘very big advantage’ over rivals Ooredoo and Telenor, which must deploy their own infrastructure from scratch. The slow pace of negotiations continues, however, and further talks between KSGM and MPT on the implementation and management of the upgrade project are needed. Meanwhile, KDDI and Sumitomo have pledged to create jobs directly and indirectly, whilst maintaining MPT’s existing 8,500 staff.