Ooredoo Myanmar has launched Myanmar’s first commercial 4G LTE network in selected parts of Naypyidaw, Yangon and Mandalay.
“We are very proud to deliver 4G service to Myanmar,” Ooredoo Myanmar chief executive Rene Meza, said at a Friday press conference, adding that the service would initially be available in around half of Yangon’s townships, most of Naypyidaw and all of Mandalay.
The firm says it plans to expand the high speed network to other locations, once it has been granted more spectrum by the regulator. “This is only the beginning. Our service will continue to expand and improve our time. We are ready to invest more, are looking forward to covering even more customers with faster speed,” Mr Meza said.
Mr Meza said that as of April, the Ooredoo network provided mobile coverage to 85 percent of Myanmar’s population, with around a quarter of the telco’s 3400 mobile towers ready for the 4G upgrade.
All current Ooredoo subscribers would be able to access the 4G network on their existing SIM cards. 4G data tariffs are available at the same price as 3G, with ‘Internet Packs’ ranging in price from MMK450 (USD0.38) for an allowance of 70MB (valid for 24 hours) to MMK27,000 for 5.5GB (30 days).
The Myanmar government launched an international tender process to grant two new telecom licenses in 2013, which were acquired by Norway’s Telenor and Qatar-based Ooredoo the following February. Mobile phone usage has exploded in the two years since. Myanmar had an estimated 78 percent mobile penetration rate at the end of 2015.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) is due to auction off 2600MHz frequencies later this year, with 1800MHz spectrum scheduled to go on sale in Q1 2017, or nine months after the 2600MHz tender. Until the additional frequencies become available, Ooredoo will use the 900MHz and 2100MHz bands for its 4G service.