Airtel submits final bid for telecom licence in Myanmar

Airtel submits final bid for telecom licence in Myanmar New Delhi: A Bharti Airtel-led consortium has submitted its final bid for telecom licence in Myanmar, as India's biggest private telecom company looks to expand its overseas operations.

A Bharti Airtel spokesperson confirmed that the consortium has submitted its final technical bid.

Airtel already offers services in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and 17 African countries apart from India.

Apart from Airtel consortium, there are 10 other bidders in the race for two new licenses in Myanmar, which include Axiata, Digicel, France-Tel, KDDI, Millicom, MTN, QTel, SingTel, Telenor and Viettel.

The Myanmar government had called for bids for two telecom licences and shortlisted 12 applicants. A consortia of Vodafone and China Mobile decided to opt out of the bidding process last week.

The winners are expected to be announced on June 27 this year and the licences are for 2x5 MHz on 900 MHz and 2x10 MHz on 2100 MHz.

Overall, the Myanmar government will award four licences, two new licences and two for the existing local operators MPT (the incumbent) and Yatanarpon Teleport (YT).

MPT is a fully government-owned operator and YT is a semi- government owned operator.

In order to increase telephone and Internet accessibility, Myanmar has recently opened the door for foreign firms to enter its market.

The move by Myanmar's Communication Ministry is part of a plan to expand telephone penetration between 75 and 80 percent by 2016, from the current level of around 10 percent.

Global telecom firms are eyeing Myanmar after a number of international sanctions were eased in response to political reforms under a quasi-civilian government that took power in 2011.

PTI