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Continued: Foreign companies wait to hear if Myanmar will delay licenses for mobile phone network

  • Article by: ROBIN MCDOWELL , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 26, 2013 - 11:24 AM

That was hammered home to the bidders late Wednesday night when the lower house of parliament unanimously agreed that — with the telecom bill to set the legal framework for the industry not yet approved — the decision about the two new mobile licenses should be delayed.

Lawmaker Thein Nyunt, the chairman of the New National Democratic Party, said the proposal will bypass the upper house and go directly to the president for review. It remained unclear if any decision would be made ahead of Thursday's planned announcement.

The government also insists a new industry regulator will take over within the next few years, but the job is still effectively in the hands of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Foreign companies are "entering the market while the process is still taking place and major reforms are yet to happen," said Peter Evans, a senior analyst at the telecom research group, BuddComm.

It's also unclear what role the state-owned incumbent telecom operator, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications, will be playing. The idea is that it will eventually be divorced from state control but what its structure, funding and role will be at this time remains unclear.

Yatanarpon, which is majority government-owned and primarily an Internet service provider until now, has a much smaller network. And also newly on the scene is the army-owned Myanmar Economic Corp.

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