TechnoStorm

Philippine telecoms firm losing interest in Myanmar project

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Dominant network Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is cool to the idea of investing in Myanmar's telecommunications industry, citing the high cost of entry and a competitive landscape that heavily favoured locals.

PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said he expected that the two nationwide telecom licenses being bid out by the Myanmar government would be "hotly contested."

"We're still looking at it but I think it's going to be difficult," Pangilinan told reporters. "The kind of pricing for the license and the frequency could be high," he pointed out. "We don't know yet, but for me, personally, I think it would be difficult (to win the license)."

Myanmar's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) earlier said it would award two nationwide telecommunications service licenses in the first half of 2013.

The country's main goal would be "to increase the overall telecom density of the country to 75-80 per cent in 2015-2016." This compares to 100-per cent penetration rate of mobile telco services in the Philippines.

In a statement last January, MCIT said it aimed "to make the telecommunications services available to the public at affordable prices and to give the public the capability of choice for the telecommunications services."

Winners of the two licenses would be given a concession period of as long as 20 years, with the requirement to meet or exceed the government's goal of covering 80 per cent of Myanmar.

The PLDT group earlier confirmed that it was interested in securing one of the two licenses. Officials added that the company would likely team up with a foreign partner with more experience in the Myanmar market.

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