Company profiles

Following are the main telecommunications companies active in Myanmar:

  • Telenor: A Norwegian telephone company, which launched 4G/LTE services in June 2017. Telenor claims it has the widest coverage in the country, serving 19 million customers in all states, regions and territories. In 2017, it was noted as the fastest network in the country, based on consumer-initiated tests via Ookla. The company has set a five-year target of 90 percent population coverage.
  • Ooredoo: The Qatari telephone company has rolled out its 4G Plus network across almost 300 townships around the country. The company claims more than 16 million people are able to access its network. In 2018, Ooredoo was found (by Ookla) to be the fastest 4G offering in the country.
  • MPT - KDDI/Sumitomo: The MPT partnership with Japan's KDDI and Sumitomo Corp, has upgraded its networks to 4G. MPT was the sole provider of services prior to the tender that saw Telenor and Ooredoo enter the scene. At present, MPT claims to have the largest number of users. Recent figures indicate there are 28 million MPT users, and network coverage of 90 percent of the country.
  • Mytel: Telecom International Myanmar Company Limited, operating as MyTel, is 49 percent owned by Viettel, which is controlled by the Ministry of Defence of Vietnam. The Myanmar Economic Corporation military conglomerate holds 28 percent of the joint venture, while the remainder is owned by a consortium of Myanmar companies. MyTel’s launch was attended by senior military figures, including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. MyTel is widely seen as the military network. It was a late addition to the scene, with its announcement coming as something of a surprise. It currently has 72 percent coverage.

As of early 2018, 43.72m SIM cards had been sold by Myanmar’s four operators, according to the Posts and Telecommunications Department. This represents a theoretical mobile penetration rate of 89.38 percent - a major increase on the 6.99 percent penetration recorded at the end of the fiscal year 2011-12.

However, the figure does not represent true penetration, as it is common for mobile users to own more than one SIM card. When the price of buying a phone number fell from more than US$1000 to just K1500 in 2014, many buyers bought Ooredoo and Telenor SIMs to compare the new networks against the state incumbent. It is not clear which has emerged as the most popular, with the most active users.

Prior to the rollout of telephone company reforms, less than 2 million people nationwide used the Internet. In 2015-2016, the Posts and Telecommunications Department estimated there were at least 39 million Internet users.