ADB, IFC to help ex­tend mo­bile tele­com ser­vices across Myan­mar

Mizzima Business Weekly - - DEVELOPMEN­T -

The Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) and the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion—IFC, a mem­ber of the World Bank Group—are pro­vid­ing loans of $300 mil­lion to Oore­doo Myan­mar for the roll­out of a mo­bile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work across Myan­mar, which will help ex­tend af­ford­able tele­com ser­vices across the coun­try, boost­ing eco­nomic growth and job cre­ation.

ADB and IFC are ex­tend­ing a loan of $150 mil­lion each to Oore­doo Myan­mar, a fully owned sub­sidiary of Oore­doo Q.S.C, to ex­pand a na­tion­wide “green­field” mo­bile tele­com net­work us­ing ad­vanced 3G tech­nol­ogy, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on 8 Fe­bru­ary.

“Myan­mar has one of the low­est rates of tele­com con­nec­tiv­ity in South­east Asia, with poor com­mu­ni­ties and women the least likely to have ac­cess to th­ese in­creas­ingly vi­tal ser­vices,” said Christo­pher Thieme, Di­rec­tor of ADB’s Pri­vate Sec­tor Op­er­a­tions Depart­ment. “This as­sis­tance, ADB’s largest pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment to date in Myan­mar, will help the govern­ment meet its tar­get of con­nect­ing over 90% of the pop­u­la­tion, in­clud­ing mil­lions of peo­ple for the first time.”

In 2013, only 7 out of ev­ery 100 peo­ple had ac­cess to a mo­bile phone in Myan­mar. Pro­vid­ing af­ford­able, widely avail­able tele­com ser­vices to sup­port eco­nomic growth and cut poverty has been a pri­or­ity goal of the Govern­ment of Myan­mar. Since its en­trance into the mar­ket in 2014, Oore­doo Myan­mar has reached mil­lions of cus­tomers cov­er­ing 80% of the pop­u­la­tion with its 3G net­work.

“This in­vest­ment shows our con­tin­ued sup­port to help ex­tend es­sen­tial and af­ford­able in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices to Myan­mar peo­ple,” said Vikram Ku­mar, IFC Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Myan­mar. “In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing thou­sands of di­rect and in­di­rect jobs to lo­cal work­ers, Oore­doo Myan­mar’s na­tion­wide tele­com net­work will help con­nect peo­ple and ease eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties by ap­ply­ing ad­vanced telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies.”

The net­work roll­out will be car­ried through to 2019. With the phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture, Oore­doo Myan­mar plans to de­velop mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions for bank­ing, agri­cul­ture, and ma­ter­nal health, which will im­prove ac­cess to ser­vices par­tic­u­larly for low-in­come groups and women.

Mo­bile phones are all the rage to­day in Myan­mar. Photo: EPA

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