Wall Street Journal – “Myanmar’s Telecom Boom Has Been Put on Hold”

By Shibani Mahtani | 27 Oct 2013

Check out the full article here.

In June, when two foreign companies won the coveted rights to operate telecommunications networks in Myanmar—a country ahead of only North Korea in cellphone penetration—its 60 million people and watchful investors believed a revolution was at hand.

But four months later, the two operators, Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor, remain in the dark about the rules they’ll operate under. They also lack the actual licenses they won the bidding for, holding them back from rolling out technology to modernize the sector, and delaying the day when Myanmar’s networks are on par with its Asian neighbors’…

Parliament passed a new telecommunications law Oct. 12, a first step toward modernizing and clarifying regulations for the complex sector. But it provides only a skeletal framework for the newly privatized sector, said Daniel Gelfer, a Yangon-based director at corporate-advisory firm Vriens & Partners. The detailed regulations that will actually guide the governance of the sector aren’t expected for another three months.

“Both citizens in demand of cheap SIMs and the foreign companies selected to provide them with the technology might have to continue cultivating patience for a while to come,” Mr. Gelfer said.