Myanmar's fresh start in liberalising its state-dominated telecommunications sector has captured the attention of Thai telecom firms.
The Myanmar government on Wednesday published a notice inviting investment proposals from local and foreign companies for nationwide telecom services.
Wichian Mektrakarn, chief executive of Advanced Info Service (AIS), said the company, through its parent InTouch Plc, plans to expand its telecom business in Myanmar, especially mobile infrastructure and telecom-related services.
AIS is preparing to propose potential investment projects to the Myanmar government this month, he said.
Watchai Vilailuck, president of Samart Corporation, said his company is also studying the possibility of investment in Myanmar telecom services.
"We're carefully weighing the key factors of possible investment, noting mobile phones and call centres as high-potential fields," he said.
Samart launched its iMobile phone in Myanmar six months ago, selling several thousand handsets a month, said Mr Watchai.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said two firms will be awarded telecom licences and expressions of interest should be submitted no later than Jan 25, AP reported yesterday.
Telecom can be a lucrative sector, and several foreign companies have set up offices in Myanmar since President Thein Sein began to overhaul the economy. Sanctions applied by Western governments against the previous military regime were eased last year.
"Two companies that can fulfil the criteria to provide nationwide telecommunication service will be given licences by June this year," Soe Naing, an assistant director in Myanmar's telecommunications department, told AP.
The notice inviting proposals said a key goal of opening up the tender is to increase the country's telephone penetration to 75-80% by 2015-16.
About the author
- Writer: Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn
Position: Deputy Business Editor