Customers in Burma say that state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications’ (MPT) service is unsatisfactory and needs to improve now that the telecoms market has two new foreign-owned entries, a senior official in the MPT said on Tuesday.
Kyaw Soe, principal of the ministry’s Telecommunications and Postal Training Centre, said that once the telecoms operations of two foreign-owned companies – Telenor and Ooredoo – is established, the state-run company will begin to lose market shares due to the competition.
“At the moment, MPT dominates most of the market, but we do foresee that we will begin to lose market shares in the long term,” Kyaw Soe said. “For this, we are trying to make our services more convenient and reliable for our customers.”
“We all agree that the quality of our services is unsatisfactory in the public’s eye,” he added. “So we will keep working to provide better service and be number one among all the operators.”
Since Qatar-based Ooredoo launched last week, they have promised that their call rates will start at 25 kyat a minute, while Ooredoo SIM cards will be sold for 1,500 kyat (US$1.50).
In previous years, the cost of a SIM card with MPT has ranged from $50 to $500, rendering mobile communications an economically unfeasible prospect for the average person in Burma.
Khun Kyaw Zin Tun, a resident in Shan State capital Taunggyi, said that the service from MPT is spotty and unreliable.
“MPT’s phone signal in town is not good. One has to practice great patience to use the Internet, even in locations that are close to their towers,” he said. “We are envious of those in Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw, who can now enjoy a service by international operators. We want to see how different their service will be from MPT.”
Norway-based telecoms company Telenor, the second company that won a license to operate in Burma, will began selling SIM cards next month. The Norwegian firm has said that they expect to offer network coverage to 90 percent of Burma’s population within five years.