South African-headquartered mobile phone operator MTN has failed to secure an operating licence in Myanmar, it said on Thursday. The two licences that were up for grabs have gone to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar Telecom.
MTN received notification from that country’s telecommunications operator tender and evaluation selection committee on Thursday informing it that it had not been successful in its bid.
MTN, which has operations in 22 markets in the Middle East and Africa, was one of 15 companies shortlisted in April for the potentially lucrative mobile licences in Myanmar. If it had won a licence, it would have been the South African company’s first operation in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has a population of more than 60m people. Yet, according to MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, the country has less than 5% mobile penetration.
Myanmar has been under military rule since a coup d’état in 1962 but has embarked on extensive reforms in recent years. It is set to hold elections in 2015.
“MTN is disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to operate a telecommunications network in Myanmar, following the announcement today of two successful bidders for operating licences,” MTN said in a statement.
“The MTN consortium, which included Myanmar-based Amara Communications and M1 Telecom Limited, was part of the highly competitive bid process involving 11 other international operators.”
However, the group added that it continued to be interested in opportunities in Myanmar. “MTN still considers Myanmar an attractive market. To this end, we will review other options as they become available, and make a decision after the appropriate due consideration.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media