May 14, 2011

30 million new GSM mobile phone lines will become available in the next 5 years

Myanmar's Minister of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs said on April 23 that the Myanmar government will extend 30 million more GSM mobile phone lines in cooperation with private companies over the next five years, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

"Probably the government will subsidize the procurement of more new servers to install more lines, then it will increase phone charges from 50 kyat/per minute [US $1=842 kyat] to 100 kyat or 150 kyat/per minute," said a staff worker at the Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications Office on Pansoedan Street in Kyauktada Township.

Currently, GSM, CDMA 450 MHz and CDMA 800 MHz are the most popular mobile phone services in Burma.

“Even though we do have servers and cellphone towers, we use different carriers— Chinese GSM phones and Chinese CDMA phones, which are known as costal phones because they were introduced in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis in 2008. So there are some gaps between network coverage due to using different phone service providers," he said.

CDMA 450 MHz and CDMA 800 MHz phone lines have been taking over the mobile market since 2009 due to unlimited sales on 500,000 kyat CDMA phones.

Central Marketing and Elite, which are subsidiaries of Htoo Trading Company, have entered into a joint venture with the MCPT to sell CDMA handsets, one-used phone cards worth FEC 100 and FEC 200, and prepaid phone cards (10,000 kyat/20,000 kyat/50,000 kyat/ per card).

CDMA 800 MHz phones, which were distributed in Rangoon, can only be used in Rangoon and Mandalay. CDMA 450 MHz phones, which were distributed in Naypyidaw, were said to be usable nationwide—but subscribers have experienced lost signals in places out of town, reported a CDMA subscriber.

CDMA 800 MHz phones worth 500,000 kyat have been allowed to access the internet since January 18, but users have reportedly experienced slow internet speed and connection cuts.

Since February 2011, GSM phones, which were previously sold for 1,550,000 kyat at the government-set price, have been on sale for 500,000 kyat.

The Myanmar media reported that the GSM phones will be available for use in Rangoon, Mandalay, Naypyidaw, Kachin State, Chin State, Sagaing Division, Magwe Division, and 26 townships in eastern Pegu Division.

Source: Irrawady