Myanmar in line for devices boom
Myanmar's devices market is on target to take centre stage as the award of telecommunications licenses to Telenor and Ooredoo will cause prices of SIMs and service provision to dip towards levels even low-wage earners are able to afford, according to IDC.
The research firm said in a new report it expects this to drive a considerable uptake in demand for both mobile phones and tablets.
“The Myanmar government has set highly ambitious targets for mobile subscriber penetration over the next two years,” says Daniel Pang, ASEAN research manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. “At this point, they are on the right track, but there is still much work left to be done.”
Pang believes that based on the current state of telecom infrastructure and the plans of the new operators, the impact on mobile phone shipments will only be felt some time next year.
“While SIM cards are being issued at a hectic pace, much of the country still suffers from poor network coverage, and thus, they continue to be put up for sale in the black market instead of into new mobile phones,” he adds. “Therefore, vendors will likely boost shipment quantities only in 2Q14 or 3Q14 once the telecom infrastructure improves and more SIMs are available to consumers.
“The tablet market, however, does not face any barrier to growth. More WiFi hotspots are being developed to improve access to Internet for tablet users. Furthermore, prices for tablets dipped significantly at the end of 2012 and are continuing to fall, which will drive much higher demand across 2013 and beyond.”
As Myanmar's economy experiences the benefits associated with the government reforms, IDC expects the PC market to expand in 2013. The costs of internet subscriptions are expected to decline gradually, particularly for equipment and administrative fees.
Announcements that a high-speed internet cable network is being built this year, and more hydropower dams over the next few years will have excited the market. Reduced costs and increased stability for Internet connectivity as well as electricity supply will inspire confidence in businesses and consumers to start investing in not just PCs but also other devices as these tools are essential for growth.
This could also set the stage for the introduction of cloud computing, paving the way for small and medium businesses, in particular, to easily and quickly gain access to subscription-based cloud applications and services from PCs and mobile devices.
“As the economy blossoms, the market will also actively roll out productivity tools for work and study,” Pang adds.
“Desktop PCs, and to a lesser extent notebook PCs, have generally sold poorly over the years as the government battled to generate sufficient power supply for basic needs. But as income levels rise, internet costs decline and more hydropower plants are built, IDC expects the PC market to move into a healthy growth track. The outlook for Myanmar's personal devices market is very bright; all that remains is to figure out how to tap into its potential.”