Thursday, September 21, 2017

MPT, KDDI to sign operating agreement

Myanma Posts and Telecommunications and Japanese telecom firm KDDI will tomorrow sign a joint operating agreement, sources have confirmed.

The long-delayed deal is part of efforts to overhaul the state operator and prepare it for new competition from both local and foreign operators, including Telenor and Ooredoo.

As The Myanmar Times has previously reported, the announcement of the partnership with KDDI had been expected as far as December, but was delayed for reasons that have never been explained.

The agreement means the two firms will not create a new jointly owned company, or joint venture. Rather, KDDI will operate MPT on a contract basis, the terms of which have not been revealed.

While KDDI was chosen months ago from a field that also included Orange and SingTel, negotiations have proven more complicated than expected. The KDDI consortium also includes Japan’s Sumitomo and two local partners, Myanmar Information and Communication Technology Development Corporation and A1 Construction Company. 

The deal will be signed at a ceremony at Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw, according to Hand in Hand, the company organising the event.

The signing ends a process that began in April 2013 when MPT began informal discussions with consortiums led by KDDI, Orange from France, and Singapore’s SingTel. All three consortiums narrowly missed out on being awarded licences in June 2013 to set up 100 percent foreign-owned telecoms operators.

In early November, the government officially invited the three consortiums to submit proposals for partnership with MPT by December 5. It had told the companies that a partner would be announced on December 18, although no such announcement was made. In May, The Myanmar Times reported that KDDI had been chosen to partner with MPT.