Friday, August 18, 2017

State-owned telco rolls out 4G services

The last of Myanmar’s three established telecommunications firms has rolled out fourth-generation services. MPT is offering customers 4G in select locations in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, but aims to cover the country after purchasing additional spectrum next year.

MPT has joined the other major telcos in rolling out 4G services. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar TimesMPT has joined the other major telcos in rolling out 4G services. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar Times

U Tun Aye Maung, MPT’s deputy general manager for marketing strategy, said customers can use 4G in six locations in Yangon and two in the capital.

The firm’s Yangon 4G hotspots are at a Junction Maw Tin shopping centre, Junction Square, Taw Win Centre, MPT-branded stores based in Pabedan township and Yangon international airport. MPT will also extend 4G to Myanmar Plaza in the next few days, U Tun Aye Maung said.

Nay Pyi Taw users can go to Junction Centre and Capital Hyper Market.

Ooredoo was first to launch 4G services earlier this year and told The Myanmar Times in August it had over half a million 4G users across Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon. Telenor launched in Nay Pyi Taw in July and has been testing in Yangon, Shan State’s Muse and Kayin state’s Myawaddy.

MPT is planning to roll out 4G across the whole country in 2017, said U Khin Maung Myint, director of marketing.

“If we will purchase 1800MHz spectrum from the government we will extend the 4G network,” he said. “We hope to buy more 1800MHz in January 2017. We’re aiming to cover the whole country next year.”

The firm is currently offering 4G on the 2.1GHz spectrum.

Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT are all eager for more of the 1800MHz band, which is better suited than higher frequencies to expanding coverage. All declined to enter an auction for 2600MHz spectrum to be held today, which Ooredoo and MPT said was due to a desire to concentrate on the 1800MHz auction expected to follow.

An official in the communications ministry said it the 1800MHz auction would be held in the first quarter of next year, potentially in January.

MPT is also planning to launch its own 4G smartphone, as well as offering existing 2G and 3Gusers a free 4G sim card.

“MPT’s old SIM card supports 2G and 3G networks but not 4G,” he said U Khin Maung Myint. “Customers have to change at MPT shops, but it’s free.”