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Ooredoo has switched on its UMTS900 3G network in three Myanmar cities, ahead of a wider commercial launch planned for later this month.
The operator is offering voice and mobile internet services for free in the three cities as a launch promotion.
In preparation for the commercial launch, the operator plans to extend the rollout to include 68 Myanmar cities and towns by August 15.
By this time, the company plans to be offering HD voice calls and fast internet access everywhere where it has coverage, Ooredoo Myanmar CEO Ross Cormack said.
“We are working hard to deliver our services to as many people as possible and ensure ready availability of SIMs and affordable compatible devices,” he said.
Ooredoo is selling SIMs for just 1,500 kyats ($1.50), orders of magnitude cheaper than the typical price prior to the liberalization of Myanmar’s telecom sector. AsTelecomAsia noted earlier this year, two years ago a SIM card cost in the region of $2,000. As recently as April, the cards still cost up to $140.
Rival telecom license holder Telenor Myanmar also plans to sell SIMs for 1,500 kyats.
In a research note, Ovum research analyst Vivek Roy said Ooredoo is expected to charge less than 35 kyats per minute for on-net calls, and less than 45 kyats per minute for off-net call.
He said Ooredoo has committed to rolling out nearly 1,000 3G base stations to cover 30-40% of Myanmar’s population this year. In the long term, Ooredoo has pledged to invest $15 billion in its Myanmar operations over the next 15 years. This means the network launch is just the beginning.
“Ooredoo will need to begin partnering with more tower companies and backhaul infrastructure providers as it tries to expand network in rural parts of Myanmar,” Roy said. “This will require more capex, planning, and patience.” Original post at Telecom Asia