Aug 1, 2015

Ooredoo Lagging Behind as Telenor Subscribers Top 10 Million

Norwegian telecommunications operator Telenor has announced that its subscriber base in Burma is now more than 10 million, more than double the number claimed by competitor Ooredoo.

The two foreign companies now have a total of more than 14 million customers, underlining the massive growth in mobile phone use in the country, where only a year ago the state-owned Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) was the only provider of mobile phone and internet services.

The latest figures from each operator suggest that Telenor is pulling ahead in the race to reach new subscribers in Burma. Telenor and Ooredoo, a Qatari company, were the first two private companies to be awarded telecoms licenses in the country. The government is set to open up a tender for another license, but only local companies, or joint ventures involving a local firm, are being asked to apply.

In quarterly results published on July 22, Telenor Group said that its Burmese venture “continues to exceed our expectations” and had passed the 10 million subscriber mark in July.

“Customers’ strong demand for voice and data services keeps driving revenues and profitability,” Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO of Telenor Group, was quoted saying in a press release.

“During the quarter [April to June] we further expanded the network, reaching 213 of a total of 330 townships at the end of June. The speed of our network expansion is the key challenge in a nation where approximately 70 per cent of the population lives in rural areas.”

Ooredoo published its own results on Wednesday, saying that it had reached only 4.3 million mobile customers.

“The high quality of its 3G network contributed to almost doubling the number of customers in the first half of 2015,” it said.

The results also said that the company’s Burma venture was already in profit, but clearly the company is far behind its main rival, which is now closer to the incumbent provider than to its private rival in terms of subscribers.

MPT has teamed up with two Japanese firms to expand its services, and reportedly has some 11 million subscribers.

Source: The Irrawaddy