ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Yangon calling: Ooredoo SIMS launch across Myanmar
The mobile and telecommunications firm, Ooredoo, has launched in Myanmar becoming the first private company to compete with the state-owned, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications.
To swirling lights and thumping techno beats, the Qatari-owned telco marked the launch with a high-octane media event at Yangon’s Shangri La hotel on August 2.
Chief Operating Officer of Ooredoo, Ross Cormack said at the event, SIM cards were available for purchase from 6,500 outlets with widespread network coverage in Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay, and intermittent coverage across Yangon.
Mr Cormack said that by August 15 when the commercial launch was due, customers could expect the network to deliver high definition voice calls and fast internet in the 68 cities and towns where Ooredoo had
As Ooredoo prepares for its commercial launch, customers who have purchased SIM cards can trial the product, with free phone calls and internet access until midnight on August 14, he said.
During the trial period, customers in service areas will receive 900 free minutes of voice calls and 900 free text messages to other phones on the Ooredoo network, and 90 free minutes and 90 free texts to any other phone on an MPT network.
Free access to Facebook and 20 megabytes of data will also be available each day up to August 15.
“As we undertake final preparations for launch and optimise the network, we would like to extend this invitation to those living in the Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon areas, hence our offer of free services during this time,” Mr Cormack said.
“We are confident that the feedback from our new customers will assist us greatly in enhancing our network in time for our commercial launch.”
Ooredoo and the Norwegian-owned, Telenor, were awarded telecoms licenses in June 2013, after an announcement more than two years ago by Myanmar’s government to make available two licenses to private companies.
Ooredoo’s licensing agreement commits it to deliver a “next-generation UMTS900 network” that supports 3G technology, meaning faster internet and higher quality voice calls but will require customers to have UMTS900-combatible phones.
Telenor has committed to rolling out 2G technology (as well as some 3G infrastructure), which would mostly benefit customers outside of the larger towns and cities. 2G is compatible with GSM SIM technology already available in Myanmar.
Telenor’s marketing director, Hanne Knudsen told Mizzima on August 4 via email, that while Telenor did not usually comment on its competitors, she believed Ooredoo had maintained its licensing agreement to launch by August 5.
“Telenor have always intended to launch our network in September which is earlier than the date that we have committed to in our license agreement [of October 5],” Ms Knudsen said.
“We are on target according to our plan and appreciate the support and patience our future customers are showing us in the final period before we open the Telenor network.”
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