Aug 5, 2011

4 million new GSM lines to be released by end of the year

Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) announced last week that the first phase of a five-year plan to create 30 million GSM mobile connections was underway.

The announcement, posted on the Yatanarbon web portal, stated that phase one consists of four million GSM connections; sales of the lines will begin in December, five months after the project kicked off.

U Thein Tun, the Minister for Communications, Posts and Telegraphs, said during a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on July 15 that the project aimed to make mobile telecommunications available to more people at a cheaper price, the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported on July 17.

MPT will work with the four private companies to procure Base Transceiver Stations, build radio towers and set up networks in the first phase, the July 27 announcement said.

The four companies cooperating with MPT are Elite Tech Manufacturing Co, Asia Mega Links Co, Shwe Than Lwin Co and IGE Co. Phase one is expected to cost about K500 billion, or US$600 million.

Fibreoptic lines will be built to connect Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and other major cities across the country and new internet gateways and trunk gateways will be set up, the announcement said.

“About 1450 radio towers have to be built … and new internet gateways must be set up for all the GSM phones to use internet,” U Zaw Min Oo, MPT’s chief engineer, said in early July.

“The current internet gateways are not enough for all GSM users to access the internet – it only covers about 25 percent, which is why we need new internet gateways,” he said.

GSM connections are sold for K500,000 and it’s widely expected that the release of new lines will see prices fall to at least K300,000.

After the five-year project is finished in 2015, about half the nation’s population should have a mobile telephone, MPT said.

Source: Myanmar Times