YANGON — Telenor Myanmar has launched a program to swap over 100,000 of its SIM cards per month as the company lays the ground for an eventual 4G mobile network upgrade.
The Norwegian telco, which has more than 12 million subscribers as of the third quarter of 2015, said it would replace the SIM cards of existing customers free of charge with high-speed capable alternatives. The new SIMs would also provide a security upgrade, Telenor spokeswoman Ma Ni Ni Myint told Frontier.
“These SIM’s are future ready and will help easy transition for customers when Telenor launch 4G in the future,” she said, conceding it would likely be some time to come before 4G services were introduced in Myanmar.
“At present, the government has not awarded spectrum licenses for 4G services in Myanmar. There will be wide communications around this and around the service availability when it becomes available.”
Telenor announced the exchange plan on Facebook at the beginning of the year. Subscribers have been advised to swap their old SIMS at any Telenor shops by showing their national registration cards.
Telenor Myanmar is currently operating the country’s largest 3G mobile network, with more than 4,200 mobile phone towers across the country. The telco says it is aiming to add another 3,000 towers to its service in 2016 in order to improve its rural coverage and capacity in urban areas.
Myanmar government granted the telecom licenses to Telenor Myanmar and Ooredoo Myanmar in 2014, ending the monopoly of government owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT).
According to figures from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Myanmar’s mobile phone penetration has grown rapidly from 10 percent in 2013 to over 60 percent in September 2015.