Myanmar SIM-cards will be 200 times cheaper with Telenor


Myanmar Communications ministry hails operators’ retail rollout roadmaps, which will see cost of SIM cards fall substantially.

Ooredoo and Norwegian Telenor, the successful applicants for two mobile licenses in Myanmar, on Thursday shared more information on how much they will charge customers to use their services.

Norway-based Telenor said it will charge 25 kyat ($0.03) per minute for calls, while Qatar’s Ooredoo will put the price at 35 kyat ($0.04) per minute for on-net calls and 45 kyat ($0.05) per minute for off-net calls.

More importantly to Myanmar citizens will be the price of SIM cards. Last year the government halved the cost of a SIM card to 200,000 kyat ($204), but that was still equivalent to two-thirds of the average annual salary. Consequently, mobile services were still well beyond the reach of the typical consumer.

Telenor and Ooredoo on Thursday said they will charge 1,500 kyat ($1.53) – 200 times cheaper than current prices – and the latter also plans to launch an offer that comes with a free SIM.

“The Union Government is pleased to have selected two very strong and experienced international operators, which will quickly develop telecommunications networks across the country,” said the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), in a statement.

Telenor and Ooredoo in late June defeated nine other applicants in a beauty contest to win two licences to operate in Myanmar’s largely untapped mobile market.

Telenor said it will roll out voice coverage to 83% of the country and data coverage to 78% in the next five years. Ooredoo, which before winning a licence made headlines by pledging to invest $15 billion in Myanmar if it won, is aiming for 84% voice and data coverage in five years.

Ooredoo on Thursday said it will roll out 240,000 SIM card points of sale, dwarfing Telenor’s planned 70,000. Ooredoo and Telenor also plan to establish 720,000 and 95,000 prepay top-up locations respectively.

“The two successful applicants have both committed to a very strong coverage of all regions and states, a dense distribution network in both urban and rural areas and a wide range of value-added services at low prices,” said the MCIT.



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