Telecom Lead Asia: Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) is set to enter Myanmar telecom market to offer international data and voice services in the country.
The company’s entry into Myanmar, which opened up the telecom sector for foreign players, will be via an authorized Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) representative.
Myanmar’s MPT awarded new telecoms licences following liberalization of the local market earlier this year.
The impact will be significant as Myanmar, with an estimated population of over 60 million, has only around one million people enjoy the benefits of a mobile telephone. Around 400,000 people have internet access in Myanmar.
HGC is the first foreign telecoms provider to serve Myanmar’s data and voice markets.
Hutchison will offer International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for providing Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN) data services.
In addition, HGC has established direct voice interconnection with MPT and is now authorized to terminate traffic into Myanmar.
The move also underscores HGC’s tradition as a pioneer in providing telecoms services to Myanmar, which began with provision of the nation’s first IP-VPN service in 2008. HGC has also served as one of the country’s major Internet backbone service providers in 2007.
“Our stronger presence in Myanmar has reinforced HGC’s position as a first mover in the region. Today’s news means more data and voice connections to Myanmar will bolster our already well-established GMS network connectivity. In fact, HGC was the first overseas network operator to provide international telecoms services in the region,” said Andrew Kwok, HGC’s President of International Business.
The Myanmar telecom market has already started attracting telecom equipment vendors. Recently, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have decided to tap Myanmar.
According to Nomura Securities, with around 60 million people and only 4 percent wireless penetration and 3 percent fixed, Myanmar is one of the last untapped telco markets in the Asia Pacific region. Given the lack of interoperability between GSM/CDMA, the number of unique users could be 2 million.
Currently, the state-owned operator, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), has a majority of these subscribers on 2G/3G. Yatanarpon Teleport is the other smaller operator, primarily an Internet service provider (ISP).