Myanmar holds 2nd Mobile Symposium as It Strives for A Digital Future

09 Feb 2018

February 08th 2018, Nay Pyi Taw – The four licensed mobile operators in Myanmar — MPT, MyTel, Ooredoo Myanmar, and Telenor Myanmar — jointly organized the second annual Myanmar Mobile Symposium today in Nay Pyi Taw. The event, attended by almost 200 participants, builds on the success of last year’s event to show how Myanmar can continue its efforts to create a digital future. Speakers at this second symposium outlined the factors and conditions necessary for Myanmar to leapfrog ahead in its goal to become a digital leader among the ASEAN nations.

According to Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, Myanmar’s telecommunication’s sector has become a top destination for foreign investment as global multinational firms such as Telenor, Ooredoo, KDDI/ SUMITOMO, and Viettel invest in mobile networking equipment and new services to help develop the country’s telecom industry.

Speakers at the event included representatives from the GSMA, a global trade body representing mobile operators worldwide; the four mobile operators in Myanmar; the government of Myanmar; the World Bank in Washington, D.C.; the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India; Phandeeyar, a local incubator for high-tech innovation; and an international consultant, Ms. Lynne Dorwood, who has expertise in universal service funds.

At a roundtable, moderated by Ms. Emanuela Lecchi of the GSMA, CEOs of the four telecom operators discussed what should come next after Myanmar’s successful launch of nationwide mobile services, in order to leapfrog ahead of the smartphone era. “Myanmar has made more rapid progress than perhaps any other country in moving directly from a largely unconnected society into the era of four-generation mobile telephony, said Ms. Lecchi. “Now we’d like to help prepare the country for the next steps into the future.”

Among the speakers, a representative of the Myanmar government, Dr. Tun Thura Thet from the Digital Economy Development Committee, shared a roadmap for a digital Myanmar. Other speakers at the symposium made recommendations to the Myanmar government and telecom operators on regional and global best practices, key risks, and potential alternative approaches to ensure regulatory consistency for continued growth of the telecom industry and economy.

A second panel discussion focused on the topic of mobile money whereby banks or telecom operators with a banking subsidiary enable their customers to send, receive, and store electronic money via their mobile phones. The CEO of Phandeeyar also updated participants of the symposium on the status of the country’s ecosystem for fostering innovation around the country’s mobile industry.

“Myanmar is poised to see increased investments that will positively impact the telecoms sector. To move the country forward, we also need to jointly work with industry regulators to ensure that legislation encourages a sustainable business operating environment. Clear legislation that effectively meets the needs of the market and help it grow will be crucial to foster healthy competition and ultimately uplift quality of service for customers.

With conducive legislation and smart funding into key infrastructure and platforms, we should see sustainable market growth whilst providing social benefits for all of Myanmar’s communities,” said Toshitake Amamiya, CEO of MPT-KSGM Joint Operations.

Nguyen Thanh Nam, Chief Executive Officer of Telecom International Myanmar (Mytel) said, “Myanmar still need to extend its best effort to provide broadband connectivity for citizens who lived in rural area. Again, we also need to promote ICT infrastructure and innovation of local contents that can help the development of Myanmar.”

Vikram Sinha, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar said, “We are committed in supporting Myanmar’s vision to become a fully digital nation. We do so by working to enrich the lives of Myanmar people with affordable and fast data services as well as investing in long-term infrastructure to build a stable and reliable network offering cutting-edge speeds. Our advanced technology and innovation efforts focus on providing a quality service to our customers and helping people, including those in rural areas, to enjoy the best of the internet in a way that is personal and unique to them. We are delighted with the success of the second annual Myanmar Mobile Symposium and will leverage the insights gained from this collaboration with the government and fellow industry stakeholders to ensure Ooredoo Myanmar continues contributing to a successful digital future for Myanmar.”

“With one of Asia’s most modern mobile infrastructures, Myanmar is well positioned to enter the next phase in realizing its digital ambitions. The country’s digital economy has potential for significant growth if the right initiatives are executed. In our recently launched report “Realizing Digital Myanmar”, we outlined the need for a strong digital foundation basis digital frameworks, infrastructure, ecosystem and skills that can accelerate the development of value adding digital services. Telenor is committed to be a positive part of this journey, with the ambition to support government, businesses and people of Myanmar to take full benefit from being in a connected society.” Said Lars Erik Tellmann, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Myanmar.