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Naypyidaw, Rangoon get telecoms boost

A man talks on his mobile phone by the street side of Rangoon (Reuters)

Broadband and mobile connections are set to improve in Burma’s capital and its largest city after two major providers of telecommunications services in the country upgraded their offerings this week.

According to the website telecomasia.net, Norwegian mobile telecoms giant Telenor launched a 4G service in Naypyidaw earlier this week in a bid to catch up with its Qatar-based rival Oredoo, which introduced the latest generation of mobile data services to the capital and other major cities in May.

Petter Furberg, the CEO of Telenor Myanmar, which has been providing services using 2G and 3G GSM technology since it received its license to operate in Burma in 2014, said the company plans to gradually make its 4G service available to the rest of the country.

“While Telenor users in Naypyidaw now can enjoy 4G services, we aim to expand the service to other cities gradually. To provide high-speed 4G services all over the country Telenor will need more spectrum,” said Furberg.

Meanwhile, Japan’s NTT Communications has announced the start of its new Digi-Path Premier service, which will offer high-speed Internet connections to enterprises operating in Burma’s commercial capital Rangoon.

The launch of the new service, which will connect NTT Com’s local customers to its global network through dedicated, high-speed circuits, comes fast on the heels of an announcement on Wednesday that the company — Japan’s largest telecoms provider — had been issued a network service license from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Burma’s telecoms sector has attracted massive interest from international investors, who see the country as one of the world’s last major frontier markets after decades of isolation under military rule.

Last month, the US-government-backed Overseas Private Investment Corporation announced that its first loan to a Burma-based enterprise would go to Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited, a company focused on the construction and maintenance of telecommunications towers.

The company, which is backed by American companies Tillman Global Holdings LLC and Texas Pacific Group, received a US$250 million loan to expand its activities in the country to meet growing demand for telecoms services.