Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor switched on its mobile network in Mandalay on September 27, becoming the second international telecoms firm, and third overall, to mobile communications services in Myanmar.
SIM cards went on sale in more than 1,500 stores in Mandalay city on the same day. The telecommunications company unveiled the long-awaited news of the availability of its mobile services to partners and media last week.
Following Mandalay the firm will move to the cities of Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, before continuing to the towns, villages and rural regions of Myanmar in the coming weeks, months and years, Telenor said. A total of about 9 million people live in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.
Telenor said it will bring mobile connectivity to more than 90 percent of the country in the next five years and will be accessible to the mass market through 100,000 points of sale throughout Myanmar.
“By opening up our network in Mandalay on Saturday we are taking the first step to contributing towards providing everyone in Myanmar with high-quality connectivity. Within weeks we will be available in more than 12,000 outlets in the three main cities,” Petter Furberg, Telenor’s CEO in Myanmar, said.
Telenor will expand the coverage and switch on Nay Pyi Taw the week after the launch, while this will be followed by Yangon roughly two weeks after Mandalay. Once the main three cities have been switched on, the network will continue to expand to other cities and regions as more towers are completed, Telenor said, adding that time for absorbing customer feedback, learnings and acting on necessary network improvements has been between switching on each city.
“Everyone at Telenor has made a great effort to ensure sustainable tower construction, the building of a strong local workforce, and the formation of a wide distribution network,” Furberg said.
Telenor’s mobile services and products, such as SIM cards and top-ups, became available in Mandalay from 11am on Saturday through more than 1,500 Telenor branded outlets in the city. Customers in Mandalay will also be able visit any of Telenor’s nine own shops to get connected.
Telenor said its SIM cards will only work in Mandalay until the cities of Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon are turned on.
U Khine Soe, Telenor’s regional head of sales for North Myanmar, said: “A Telenor SIM card fits into any GSM phone so it is easy to get started and at affordable call rates.”
Telenor’s pricing at launch includes: SIM cards at K1,500; calls at K25 to dial any number in Myanmar; K15 to send SMS to any number in Myanmar; mobile internet packs with weekly charges starting from K500; ‘Pay as you use’ internet rates: K6 per MB on MY internet speed of up to 300 Kbps, and K10 per MB on SMART internet speed of up to 2 Mbps; and free Facebook for a limited time and free Wikipedia.
“I am confident that we are entering the market with a competitive and attractive offering both for voice and mobile data,” Furberg said.
Top-ups will be available at K1,000, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 from Telenor branded outlets as well as from Telenor’s own shops.