Activist group Justice for Myanmar (JFM) has today released a report based on leaked data which shows military-owned telecoms firm Mytel lost US$24.9 million in revenue and over 2 million subscribers from Feb to April. 10,000 Mytel Pay agents resigned over the same period.
Mytel is reportedly now offering agents K7,000 (US$4) for every one of its sim sold. JFM’s data is taken from the period before an intensification of attacks on Mytel properties, and does not include fixed asset impairment costs expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
The military has attempted to force users onto its Mytel network since the February coup, cutting competitor services across Burma. The junta has asked all internet service providers in the country to install spyware and monitor users across their networks, forcing Norwegian provider, Telenor, to attempt to exit the country.
JFM’s report was released just one day after Thein Aung—reported to be the general manager of the sanctioned military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and its subsidiary Star High Co. Ltd.—was shot dead whilst walking with his wife near his home at 7 Mile, an exclusive neighborhood in Yangon’s Mayangone township.
Thein Aung’s wife was also shot multiple times during the attack, yet has reportedly survived.
The dead man, a veteran naval officer, is said to have had a close relationship to both the current Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, General Moe Aung, and C-i-C of the Air Force, General Maung Maung Kyaw.
It had originally been reported that Thein Aung was the current CFO of Mytel. Later reports suggested that he had left the post some time ago. However, as Star High Co. Ltd., is the MEC’s vehicle in the Mytel joint-venture, he would have retained a great deal of influence within the organization.
Justice for Myanmar has since reportedly told Frontier Myanmar that they believe the man had remained CFO of Mytel despite officially leaving the company’s board of directors in 2019.
Nobody has yet taken responsibility for the killing, the most notable of a junta associate since the coup.
As such, theories regarding the death are running like wildfire through social media. Many have suggested that the killing could have been an inside job, an idea largely supported by sources in an article published by Myanmar Now yesterday evening.
Disputing this, Mizzima News today hinted that a Yangon-based guerrilla group had informed the outlet of the man’s death.
Whatever the case, the assassination is a significant escalation that will leave white collar associates of the junta feeling rather markedly more anxious than before.
Approximately 200 Mytel telecoms towers have been attacked by resistance groups since the NUG’s D-Day. The company is a joint-venture between the junta’s privately owned MEC and Vietnam’s state-owned Viettel Group. DVB reported on the company in September.