Te­lenor and MPT ap­ply for spec­trum auc­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - STEVE GIL­MORE s.gil­more@mm­times.com

The two tele­coms op­er­a­tors will be among the po­ten­tial bid­ders at an auc­tion for more broad­band spec­trum, while Oore­doo has de­cided not to bid.

TELE­COMS com­pa­nies Te­lenor and state-owned MPT will be among the po­ten­tial bid­ders at a long-awaited auc­tion for more broad­band spec­trum next month, while ri­val telco Oore­doo has de­cided to wait for a sep­a­rate auc­tion it ex­pects to hap­pen later in the year.

Spec­trum – the ra­dio fre­quency on which com­mu­ni­ca­tion traf­fic can be sent – is a cru­cial re­source for tel­cos, mobile op­er­a­tors and ser­vice providers, who rely on it to pro­vide and ex­pand cov­er­age.

The new gov­ern­ment will hold its first spec­trum auc­tion – for a 40 mega­hertz (MHz) slice of the 2600MHz band – on Oc­to­ber 17. Un­der the auc­tion’s terms this 40MHz is avail­able only for the pro­vi­sion of broad­band data ser­vices.

The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment can­celled a planned auc­tion on the 2600MHz band ear­lier in the year af­ter crit­i­cism from Te­lenor and Oordeoo about the lack of a clear pol­icy for spec­trum man­age­ment.

The Min­istry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions pub­lished a list of com­pa­nies last week that had made ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est (EOI) in the Oc­to­ber auc­tion, and a list of those se­lected as po­ten­tial bid­ders.

Te­lenor and MPT both made EOIs and were cho­sen as po­ten­tial bid­ders (see list), but Oore­doo did not ap­ply. Se­lected bid­ders still need to meet fi­nan­cial and tech­ni­cal cri­te­ria – in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing a US$500,000 de­posit – to be on a list of qual­i­fied bid­ders, which will be an­nounced in late Septem­ber.

Of the firms that made EOIs only two – Ea­ger Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Blue­wave Broad­band – were not cho­sen as po­ten­tial bid­ders. An of­fi­cial in the Posts and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions De­part­ment said this was be­cause nei­ther held a Net­work Fa­cil­i­ties Ser­vice (In­di­vid­ual) Li­cense – an­other cri­te­ria for ap­pli­ca­tion.

Rene Meza, Oore­doo’s CEO in Myan­mar, said the firm’s pri­or­ity is the 1800MHz spec­trum, which will al­low Oore­doo to roll out its 4G net­work more ef­fi­ciently. Lower-fre­quen­cies are bet­ter able to pen­e­trate walls and are more suit­able for ex­pand­ing cov­er­age.

Mr Meza is ex­pect­ing the 1800MHz auc­tion be­fore the end of this year, al­though of­fi­cials at the min­istry’s Posts and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions De­part­ment would only say it will be held “as soon as pos­si­ble”.

Oore­doo be­came the first Myan­mar telco to of­fer fourth-gen­er­a­tion ser­vices in May, and re­cently told The Myan­mar Times it now has half a mil­lion 4G users across Yan­gon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.

Te­lenor rolled out 4G in Nay Pyi Taw in July, and is test­ing the ser­vice in Yan­gon Shan State’s Muse and Myawaddy in Kayin State. Like its Qatari ri­val, Te­lenor is look­ing for­ward to the 1800MHz auc­tion, but has ap­plied to bid on the 2600MHz band too.

A spokesper­son for Te­lenor de­clined to com­ment on what the firm would use an ad­di­tional 2600MHz al­lo­ca­tion for, or what re­gions it would bid for. An of­fi­cial at MPT also de­clined to com­ment.

The auc­tion struc­ture di­vides the 40MHz on of­fer into two 20MHz chunks, which are in turn avail­able in three sep­a­rate re­gions. This means there are six sep­a­rate 20MHz slices on of­fer.

A bid­der can­not win more than 20MHz in any one re­gion, and can only win up to two re­gional 20MHz slices.

Re­gion one en­com­passes Nay Pyi Taw, Magwe, Bago and Tanintharyi re­gions and Mon and Kayin states. Re­gion two is Yan­gon and Aye­yarwaddy re­gions and Rakhine State. Re­gion three is Mandalay and Sa­gaing re­gions and Chin, Shan, Kachin and Kayah states.

Photo: Thiri Lu

Pedes­tri­ans walk past a mobile store in Yan­gon.

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