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Digicel looks east, announces bid for telecommunications licence in Myanmar
KINGSTON—The Digicel Group has announced its bid for a telecommunications licence in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The company said that it submitted its expression of interest in a bidding process, which is expected to yield two new licensed operators within the next five months.
The winners of the two nationwide telecommunications licences are expected to “meet or exceed specified population and geographic coverage targets”. Digicel is vying against at least four other telecommunications companies who have officially expressed interest to the tender selection committee, according to news reports. Singapore’s SingTel, Norway’s Telenor, Malaysia’s Axiata Bharti, and India’s Airtel are also said to be among the bidders.
Teledensity in Myanmar is less than ten per cent of the population but the country’s government has publicly expressed its aim to have an overall teledensity to 75 per cent to 80 per cent by 2016. There were 5.4 million mobile phone subscribers and the 600,000 fixed-line users at the end of December 2012.
Digicel’s founder Denis O’Brien has been quoted by the The Myanmar Times as saying that his group is prepared to invest up to US$1 billion into developing the telecommunications network.
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