Thursday, June 29, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Telenor tests 4G across five cities

Telenor Myanmar has tested fourth-generation (4G) mobile services in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Myawady and Muse, a company spokesperson has told The Myanmar Times.

The tests come as the Norwegian mobile operator looks to migrate to 4G, a move that rival telco Ooredoo has already started. The Qatari firm’s website says its fourth-generation rollout has reached several townships in urban hubs Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay.

State-owned incumbent Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) said last week that it would launch fourth-generation services as soon as it was ready.

Though Telenor head of communications Joachim Rajaram said the telco could not comment on the timing of the 4G launch, Japanese newspaper The Nikkei reported CEO Petter Furberg as saying it could arrive by this summer.

Mr Rajaram told The Myanmar Times earlier this year the future of 4G hinges on spectrum – a vital resource divided up into bands capable of carrying voice and data communications.

A timeline from the government’s spectrum roadmap schedules the first auction for the second quarter of 2016.

The first spectrum to go on the auction block will be from the 2600 megahertz band, followed by spectrum on the 1800MHz band – which operators have said in the past should take precedence.

“Telenor has been in constant dialogue with [the Posts and Tele-communications Department] to accelerate the ... 1800MHz auction, in order for the industry to deliver a much better 4G network experience in Myanmar,” Mr Rajaram said.

Both Telenor and MPT said their launches would begin with 4G data services, a strategy pursued by Ooredoo Myanmar as well.

“Our initial launch will primarily aim to provide 4G internet services, which we feel are most relevant to the Myanmar mass market, based on our observations and current handset capabilities,” said Mr Rajaram. “Over time, we will introduce other 4G services such as high definition voice and enriched messaging experience.”

The Southeast Asia and Oceania Ericsson Mobility Report for June 2016 said that at the end of last year, more than 5 percent of the region’s mobile subscriptions were LTE (long-term evolution) – a technology standard that local telco officials say is synonymous with 4G in Myanmar.

The report forecasts that this year, LTE subscriptions in that region will hit the 100 million mark.

In the first quarter of 2016, Myanmar’s mobile subscriber base increased by 5 million on net – a figure matched by Indonesia, while only India added more, according to a global Ericsson Mobility Report.