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Business Opportunities for Norwegian Companies in Myanmar

The ICT Sector

After two mobile telephone operator licences were won by foreign telecom operators Telenor and Ooredoo in 2013, Myanmar’s telecom infrastructure has been leapfrogging across legacy systems that other countries are struggling with. Traditionally, the mobile telephone business was strictly controlled by the military regime and mobile phones were only available for a thousand US dollars or more. The mobile telephone penetration rate was only 4% in 2014, but as of May 2016, 44 million SIM cards have been sold by Myanmar’s four operators; Telenor and Ooredoo as well as state-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), and MECtel, a subsidiary of military-run Myanmar Economic Corporation. The number of people using the internet has also risen quickly, with most users going online through mobile 3G broadband. It is estimated that there are 40 million internet users in Myanmar as of December 2016.

Due to the rapidly increasing number of mobile telephone subscribers, mobile infrastructure and mobile solutions continue to be in demand, even if profit margins in the mobile supplier industry in Myanmar are exceptionally thin, to say the least. The mobile operators are developing e-money, e-health, e-education and e-government services in order to penetrate further. Because of the large number of suppliers to the mobile industry, the IT and Telecom supplier sectors is extremely competitive and to some extent difficult to penetrate, but solutions using proven technology backed up by track records from other countries in Asia have a good chance to enter the market.