Ooredoo Myanmar adds 4G to managed services agreement with Nokia

Cellular antennas on tower

Nokia extended an existing managed services agreement with Ooredoo Myanmar to incorporate the operator’s 4G network that was recently launched in four cities in the country.

Ooredoo became the first operator in Myanmar to launch 4G services at the end of May, and now provides services in Yangon, Nay Phi Daw, Mandalay, and Bagan. Nokia said it was able to complete the initial 4G rollout in less than three months by upgrading Ooredoo Myanmar's existing 3G network using the Nokia Single RAN and packet core platforms.

Since then, the operator has signed up 500,000 LTE subscribers and is pushing ahead with ambitious rollout plans, reported the Myanmar Times. The company said it had a total of 8.2 million mobile subscribers by the end of June 2016.

During the operator’s second-quarter results presentation in early August, Ooredoo Myanmar CEO Rene Meza said the company is continuing to invest in its 4G network, but indicated that more spectrum was required to support further expansion.

He said Ooredoo Myanmar would buy additional spectrum when released by the government.

The Myanmar Times noted that Ooredoo and Telenor Myanmar -- which started to sell 4G services in Nay Pyi Taw in July -- both have spectrum in the 900 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands, and use the latter band for 4G.

John Farhat, chief technology and information officer at Ooredoo Myanmar, said that the increasing popularity of the company’s LTE services “will allow us to further invest in procuring spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequency band, in the forthcoming auctions."

TeleGeography has previously reported that Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MCIT) is due to auction off 2.6 GHz frequencies later this year, with 1800 MHz spectrum scheduled to go on sale in the first quarter of 2017.

Ooredoo and Telenor Myanmar also compete with Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), which operates in partnership with Japan's KDDI Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. A fourth operator is also due to enter the market, but the Myanmar Times reported in July that the parties involved -- preferred foreign partner Viettel, government shareholder Star High Public Company Limited and local consortium Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public Limited -- are still at the negotiation table.

For more:
- see this Nokia release
- see this Myanmar Times article
- see this TeleGeography article
- see this separate Myanmar Times article

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