Myanmar awards Telenor and Ooredoo mobile licences

Myanmar’s government has selected Norwegian operator group Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo (formerly Qtel) as the two successful applicants for its nationwide telecommunications licences.

A consortium consisting of France’s Orange and Japanese trading company Marubeni Corporation will serve as a back-up applicant in the event that either Telenor or Ooredoo does not fulfil the government’s post-selection requirements.

The two successful applicants must yet accept the licences pursuant to the new Telecommunications Law which Myanmar’s Parliament is expected to adopt in its next session before licences can be allocated.

In late 2012, the government established an independent committee, the Telecommunications Operator Tender Evaluation and Selection Committee, to conduct an objective and transparent process to select the operators to whom the licences will be awarded. The selection was based on the recommendation of Myanmar’s independent Selection Committee, supported by a technical team of international experts.

The Committee first invited interested parties to submit expressions of interest and received 91 such expressions.

It then invited interested parties to submit “pre-qualification” applications, in which the applicants needed to demonstrate that they met objective requirements. 12 applicants had been “pre-qualified” and were invited to respond to an invitation to tender.

The Committee then ranked the applicants using a points system to determine which would be best suited for the role. The system assessed operators’ network roll-out, infrastructure and coverage commitments, the robustness of their technical plans, the quality of their marketing plans, value added services and distribution commitment.

It also examined their human resources management, organisation and capabilities, including the applicant’s commitment to recruit, develop and promote citizens of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as well as the quality of customer care and billing plans. Points were also awarded for corporate social responsibility, business plan and financing strategy.

The successful applicants have made a binding agreement to provide a minimum of 75 per cent geographic coverage for each region and state for voice, five years after the effective licence date.  If the licensees do not meet their coverage and quality of service commitments in any of the first five years, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said it will have the right to “exercise a performance bond”.

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