Norwegian-owned cellco Telenor Myanmar has confirmed that it has purchased a twelve-year licence for a 2×10MHz block of spectrum in the 1800MHz band. The frequencies were priced at USD80 million with Telenor paying USD32 million up front, with the remainder to follow between the second and fourth year of the licence term. The cellco acquired the concession via a direct allocation method, under which its rivals – state-owned incumbent Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), Ooredoo Myanmar and Vietnamese-backed newcomer Myanmar National Tele & Communications (MNTC), which will operate under the Mytel brand – also have the opportunity to purchase identical licences. The operators also have an option to purchase an additional 2×10MHz block of spectrum in the same band on a ‘first come first served’ basis. So far, however, only Telenor has confirmed that it has snapped up the initial 2×10MHz block.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) of Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) published a consultation paper on the proposed direct allocation process in February this year. In the paper, the PTD acknowledged that distributing the spectrum via auction would be more transparent, but opted for the direct allocation method for the sake of speed. The licences do not feature coverage obligations, as such requirements are included in the cellcos’ other licences, and the duration of the concessions was set at twelve years so that they expire at the same time as Telenor and Ooredoo’s 900MHz and 2100MHz licences.
Commenting on the company’s spectrum allocation Telenor CEO Lars Erik Tellmann said: ‘Telenor has built the largest mobile network in Myanmar, and over the last ten months we have gradually introduced 4G in 19 cities and towns across the country, utilising existing spectrum. With 1800MHz spectrum, we now are set up to provide customers with a richer internet experience with superior download speeds, smoother high-definition video streams, lag-free gaming, a stronger social media experience, and more consistent performance in peak hours, among others. We are in the midst of enabling 4G/LTE on 1800MHz on our network, and hope to expand services to more cities and towns in coming months – including an impending launch of 4G/LTE in Yangon very soon!’