Friday, August 18, 2017

Telenor Myanmar starts SIM swap

Telenor Myanmar has initiated a free SIM card swapping program, which allows customers to trade their SIMs in to the company for 4G-ready cards.

A man holds a stack of Telenor mobile phone cards. Photo: StaffA man holds a stack of Telenor mobile phone cards. Photo: Staff

The new cards – called USIMs – will boost users’ security and beef up their phone books with more room for contacts. Telenor Myanmar head of product and digital services Ali Masood described them as 4G, or faster-speed SIM cards.

Users that switch out their current SIMs for the new cards will not have to switch again when 4G coverage comes to Myanmar, according to the company. However, customers are not required to switch now.

“We’re trying to be future-proof,” said Mr Masood of the exchange program.

USIMs are already present in the market. Industry rival Ooredoo has been selling them from day one in Myanmar, according to the company’s senior public relations manager, Ma Thiri Kyar Nyo.

On the difference between users’ current SIMs and the USIMS, Mr Masood used the comparison of an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus, saying the devices have different technical specifications.

“USIMs by design can handle complex programs and they are a lot more secure, but it’s not to say that the current SIM cards are not secure,” he said. “It’s just a different technology.”

The program began at the New Year, with the company starting out with a rough target of 100,000 trade-ins per month. Customers can swap SIMs at one of the company’s 77 branded shops, it said in a press release.

Mr Masood said the company had seen good traction on the program. “I think we’re doing better than [the month’s aim],” he said.

As to 4G in Myanmar, Mr Masood said there were many factors that had to be in place before it arrived.

In November, the deputy minister for communications said as soon as operators are ready to launch a 4G network in Myanmar, the ministry will release the necessary spectrum, as previously reported by The Myanmar Times.

Telenor has upped its tower count to more than 4200 sites around Myanmar. Its third-quarter financial results revealed the company’s customer base at 11.8 million subscriptions.