By SANN OO | FRONTIER
YANGON — It is unusual for a country’s military leaders to attend the launch of a telecoms company.
But at the launch of Mytel, Myanmar’s fourth telecoms operator, around 50 high-ranking military officers were in attendance, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Defence Minister Lieutenant General Sein Win.
Lieutenant General Tran Don, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Defence, also attended the June 9 ceremony.
Telecom International Myanmar Company Limited, which operates under the brand name Mytel, is 49 percent owned by Viettel, which is wholly owned by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense.
Star High Public Company, a subsidiary of military-owned conglomerate Myanmar Economic Corporation, holds 28 percent of the joint venture, while Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public, a consortium of 11 Myanmar companies, holds 23 percent.
The company was founded in 2016 and received a nationwide telecommunications licence in January 2017.
At the launch event, Min Aung Hlaing said that Mytel is Myanmar’s only public telecoms operator.
“Among the four telecoms operators in Myanmar, it’s clear to see that Telecom International Myanmar Company Limited [Mytel] is the only operator formed by public companies,” he said.
He said Mytel would improve nationwide communication and would support the development of information technology and human resources.
Mytel has 6,000 base transceiver stations that cover around 72 percent of the country, Min Aung Hlaing said. In addition to building its own towers, the company is using equipment owned by military-run operator MECtel and is also sharing existing infrastructure with the three other operators.
“After we have finished building the BTS stations targeted for this year, 2G voice would cover 93 percent of the population and 4G data would cover 60 percent,” Min Aung Hlaing said.
Mytel supports both 2G and 4G networks and is the only operator to have offered 4G coverage at its launch, the company said in a statement.
It said 30,000 km of fiber cable has been installed, contributing to 50 percent of the country’s fiber-optic infrastructure. It also said that Mytel’s 2G and 4G networks cover 80 percent of the population.
Mytel’s chief external relations officer U Zaw Min Oo said, “Mytel will be part of the digitalisation movement, by providing the state-of-the-art internet technology from major cities to rural areas, so that everyone can connect, not only to each other, but with the world. Starting from now, our users will be able to experience premium quality 4G internet, as well as a great number of Mytel’s products and services at affordable rates.”
Mytel celebrated its first call in Nay Pyi Taw on February 12, to commemorate Union Day. At that ceremony, Min Aung Hlaing made a video call to Vietnam’s Defense Minister as well as to military commanders from Kengtung, Myeik and Kachin, according to a post on his official Facebook page.
On March 15, Mytel started initial operations in Nay Pyi Taw, eastern Bago Region and Kayin State.
Mytel 4G SIM cards, which start with the numbers “0 969” are available at 50 branded shops and 50,000 point-of-sale outlets across the country.