The boom in mobile phones is echoing in the empty spaces of Yangon’s internet cafes, owners say.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) say they are preparing for competition as the sector liberalises to allow entrants in the future, though insiders say Telenor and Ooredoo’s emphasis on their mobile rollout may buy fixed-line ISPs some breathing room.
Securing the leases and licenses required to build thousands of cell towers is the next major hurdle for the telecoms firms setting up shop in Myanmar, according to Edwin Vanderbruggen, a partner at legal advisory firm VDB Loi, which is working with one of the telecoms firms.
Despite the roll-out of K1500 SIMs which began in April, Yangon phone vendors say frustrated customers are continuing to turn to the black market for SIM cards – and in some cases, they say, the release of cheap SIMs has only encouraged their resale.
Demand for the newly released GSM SIMs continues to hugely outstrip supply – with cards released on July 25 selling last week for up to 100 times their face value.