Qatari-backed cellco Ooredoo Myanmar has announced that it has signed up one million subscribers, less than three weeks after launching services. With one of the lowest levels of cellular penetration in the world, Myanmar has huge untapped demand for wireless services and Ooredoo notes that many of its new customers are using mobiles and accessing the internet for the first time. The cellco has rolled out a purely UMTS-900 network, covering 7.8 million people across 71 cities and towns and plans to expand the network to 25 million citizens by the end of the year. Aziz Al-Uthman Fakhroo, chairman of Ooredoo Myanmar told press: ‘This has been a challenging greenfield launch, where we have needed to counter a number of logistical and technological challenges to deliver a world-class network for the people. We have overcome these challenges with the help of local partners and communities, and have become the first international communications company to operate in Myanmar.’
In related news, Eleven Myanmar writes that state-backed Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) is planning to lower its local calling rates to compete with the newcomer. Citing sources at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the paper notes that prices will be cut from MMK50 (USD0.05) per minute to less than MMK20. MPT also intends to cut the price of SMS to MMK10 from MMK25, but has yet to receive permission from regulatory authorities to alter its costs.