The collaboration between China Mobile and Vodafone to deploy telecom networks in in Myanmar is over before it began.
The operators revealed in separate statements that they have withdrawn from the running for one of two telecom licenses in the nascent telecom market, just shy of today's deadline for submitting a final bid.
China Mobile and Vodafone gave little reason for the decision, except to note that they have determined that the opportunity does not meet their respective “strict internal investment criteria.”
Both companies added that they will continue to watch the Myanmar market, seeking investment opportunities that do meet their standards.
The consortium led by the two operators was one of 12 approved bidders shortlisted for the two licenses. The list also includes consortia involving SingTel, Bharti Airtel, Axiata, KDDI and Viettel.
Myanmar has revealed plans to use a “beauty contest” model for selecting the winning applicants, judging the bids on technical and financial criteria.
The allocation marks an attempt to increase the number of operators in Myanmar to four. The telecom ministry has set a target of improving mobile coverage from just 7% of the population at present to 50% by 2015.