Norwegian telecom giant in Myanmar sees 80% go to military-linked conglomerate

Approval was given for the sale of the Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor Group’s Myanmar operations to the Lebanese M1 Group on Tuesday, 15 March, according to the Myanmar-now.org article published on 18 March 2022.

Sigve Brekke, the chief executive of the Norwegian Telenor Group, said on 18 March that a key reason for selling its Myanmar unit was that “we do not want to install intercept equipment, which all operators are required to do”, after challenging the Myanmar junta’s demands to block internet access.

Following the military coup on 1 February last year, the then Norwegian-owned Telenor Myanmar challenged the junta’s demands to block Internet access and made them known to the public.
Subsequently, the junta’s investment commission gave regulatory approval for the sale of the company to the M1 Group and the Telenor Myanmar staff were informed that the final ownership of the company would fall to Investcom, the Singaporean joint venture company set up by M1 to purchase the telecoms infrastructure.

Ultimately, the local partner was confirmed as Shwe Byain Phyu, a Myanmar firm with ties to the military that would own 80 percent of Investcom after the conclusion of the transaction between M1 and Telenor Myanmar.

Telenor claimed not to have taken part in the discussions between the two companies.

About Jaqueline Deeon

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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