Developing Myanmar’s Public Private Telecommunications Partnerships

Colonel Douglas A. LeVien


Myanmar has embarked on a rapid pace of political liberalization and market-oriented reforms after 60 years of conflict and isolation. Myanmar labeled one of the world’s most repressive, censored and underdeveloped telecommunications sectors, has adopted a host of reforms to rapidly improve the nation’s economy and quality of life of its citizens. A critical component of this objective is modernizing Myanmar’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure with its exceptionally low penetration rates given the size and the potential of the market. Myanmar’s selection of Ooredoo and Tenenor to expand the country’s limited mobile services network was transparent, fair and corruption free. Both  international telecommunications corporations have extensive “telecommunications frontier” experience and have five-year plans to grow the mobile services penetration rate to 100%.This paper argues that establishing and sustaining public-private partnerships are pivotal for Myanmar’s telecommunications infrastructure to reach its full potential by buildingentrepreneurial and public policy solutions that contribute to socioeconomic development and entry into the global information environment. It then analyzes the opportunities that Multilateral Organizations, United States agencies and corporations have to influence Myanmar conclusively by instituting a modern regulatory framework, promoting market innovations and competition aimed at developing shared principles to usher private sector activities in a transitional economy. Lastly, the paper provides policy recommendations for Myanmar’s continued political and economic liberalization agenda.

Keywords: Myanmar, Information, Telecommunications Infrastructure, Public-private partnership, World Bank, Ooredoo, Tenenor, Cisco Systems, USAID.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5758 ISSN (Online)2224-896X

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