Viettel in $1.5bn Myanmar telecoms push

The Vietnamese company will team up with local partners to become the fourth and last mobile operator in the Asian country.

Viettel, Vietnam’s military-run telecommunications company, plans to co-invest $1.5 billion together with local companies to enter Myanmar’s telecoms sector.

The Viettel-led consortium also includes Burmese state-owned Star High Public Company and Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public Limited, a special purpose vehicle owned by 11 local businesses, according to a statement.

The two Myanmar firms will own a combined 51 percent of the consortium, with Viettel holding the remaining stake. 

Earlier in March, Myanmar’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology awarded the consortium with the fourth, and last, licence to build the country’s telecommunications network. 

The company and its partners aim to develop nationwide network coverage within their first year of operation and extend access to telecom services to 95 percent of Myanmar’s 54 million population within three years. 

Viettel also plans to launch 4G services in Myanmar in the near future, subject to additional licensing. 

“We enter Myanmar at this historic phase in the country’s reform era, when the country is forecast to witness accelerated economic growth, enhanced also through increased foreign direct investment,” said Le Dang Dung, Viettel’s deputy general director. 

“Advancing the country’s telecom infrastructure will help us drive a surge in mobile and smartphone subscription penetration, to achieve the government’s target of reaching 90 percent of the population by 2020.” 

Myanmar three other operators comprise Norway’s Telenor, Dubai’s Ooredoo and state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications.

Viettel was so far active in Vietnam and nine other markets across Asia, Africa and the Americas.