Today, we are going to talk about a brand new topic: Internet for your office.
Since the launch of this website, we have discussed extensively about consumer broadband. From fiber to the home to mobile data packages, we decrypted the offers available in the Myanmar market and try to help our readers to find the best offer for their needs.
Over the past few years, we did receive a significant amount of requests for business Internet and it looks evident to us that we had to write about it and help our readers answering a few questions:
How to select the best broadband provider for your business?
What are the key criteria that need to be thoroughly considered when choosing a business Internet service provider in Myanmar?
Who are the top business Internet service providers in Myanmar?
Open for business
Internet is not only about sharing your last duck face selfie on Facebook or watching a funny cat video, it is also an indispensable tool of our professional life.
Companies in Myanmar rely more and more on Internet connectivity to communicate with suppliers and customers. A growing number of business applications are running in the cloud and Myanmar business are adopting this new way of working even faster as they have very little legacy when it comes to IT environment.
Running a business in the cloud is great for so many reasons. You get access to your applications from every device, from your office or your home and even during business trips. Cloud is also cost effective and extremely scalable therefore adapted to any business size.
But the drawback of having your business in the cloud is that you are utterly dependent on your Internet connectivity. If your office Internet goes down for couple of hours, your staff is lay off causing hefty loss for your company.
Internet connectivity is key for many companies in Myanmar and choosing a provider shall be a careful and thought through decision. In this article we will give you a few hints to find the best business Internet solution for your needs.
When it comes to connecting a independent house or a office building, the most basic question that you should ask the service provider is the last mile technology.
Fixed Wireless Internet
Fixed wireless internet is a method of high-speed connectivity that relies on microwave communication between the Internet service provider’s transmitter radio and a receiver dish located on the customer’s rooftop.
Within the radio spectrum, there are several radio frequency bands. Some bands, known as unlicensed links or unlicensed spectrum, are unrestricted and available for any and all wireless communications providers to use.
Alternatively, licensed links are allocated selectively and require Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications approval before providers are able to utilize the capacity.
Fixed Wireless Internet is usually cost effective and faster to deploy than wire medium.
If you are considering Fixed Wireless Internet for your office, we would definitely recommend to look at service providers that can provide licensed-based links. Unfortunately, the choice is limited to the mobile operators MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo and Mytel that are sole owners of radio spectrum adapted for transmission purpose.
As for unlicensed, we would consider to be the last option as unlicensed band (usually Wifi) can be easily interfered.
If your budget is tight and you can deal with a few breakdown, go for it.
If connectivity is critical for your business, move on. Or use it only as a backup with a more reliable primary medium such as Fiber.
For those who establish their office in large corporate buildings, some ISPs may offer you connectivity via an existing building infrastructure which could be copper cable. This technology is totally acceptable for business connectivity and is usually provided at lower cost than fiber.
Fiber, FTTH, FTTB…
Finally, Fiber is the technology of choice for fast and stable corporate broadband and shall be definitely favored. Luckily most of the Business ISPs use Fiber as the main medium for office connectivity.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
“A service-level agreement (SLA) is a commitment between a service provider and a client. Particular aspects of the service – quality, availability, responsibilities – are agreed between the service provider and the service user.” Wikipedia
If connectivity is critical for your business, you definitely need to obtain and compare SLA documents for each of the candidate service providers.
The main component of the SLA is usually the service availability which is usually expressed in % of monthly availability. Other components of the SLA include packet loss and bandwidth availability.
A standard corporate SLA service availability will vary from 98% to 99.5%.
But what does this service availability means?
SLA is a commitment from the service provider to deliver a certain availability month on month. If the availability during one month is below the said SLA, then the service provider is in breach and the customer is entitled to credit note on his monthly bill.
SLA is important because it translates the commitment of the Internet service provider to deliver a reliable and consistent Internet service to the customer. And as such, it should be a key criteria in your service provider selection.
Beyond the % availability itself, it is important to look at the SLA document in details and especially the level of credit the customer will obtain in case of SLA breach. Some ISP’s may set the SLA level very high to impress customers but in detail the level of credit is so low or the conditions to obtain this credit are so hard to match that ISP is never in breach. For this reason, it is important to read carefully the complete SLA document and ensure it enforces a fair level of commitment from the Internet service provider.
Once again, this document translates the commitment of the service provider to your business. It is not at all about the money and securing thick discount in case of Internet failure. It is about ensuring the ISP is dedicated to provide the best service for your needs.
We all hope that we will never have to call tech support but there will be a point in time where you will. Fiber breaks, power goes down, equipment fails, humans make mistakes. And you need to make sure you know who to call at that time. And you need to be sure that someone will answer your call, understand and address your issue in timely manner. That is a lot of “if”…
When you select a business Internet service provider, make sure the opening hours of your ISP tech support are aligned with your office hours. And if you work for a company that never sleeps, you should definitely consider looking for 24/7 support.
Some ISPs may promise you round-the-clock support as they hand the contract over to you. Don’t take their word for it, try them.
Collect the tech support number and call them over the weekend to see how they react. Ask them about your non-existing Internet contract with them and look how they track down that you are not (yet) a customer. If they finally reach this conclusion, plead dementia and hang up.
When it comes to technical support, you may also want to confirm with your ISP that it keeps a on-call team available to support you on the ground in a reasonable timeline. It is definitely a good start to operate a 24/7 hotline but most of the issues require support on the ground.
The beauty of being an Internet Service Provider is the capacity of selling the same resource multiple times. An ISP is basically a company that buy a big bulk of bandwidth and distribute this capacity across its users.
As customers are not using the bandwidth all the time, ISPs can very legitimately resell the same bandwidth to multiple users. This is what is called contention ratio.
“The higher the contention ratio, the greater the number of users that may be trying to use the actual bandwidth at any one time and, therefore, the lower the effective bandwidth offered, especially at peak times.” Wikipedia
For home user, service providers tend to practice high contention ratio. This is why it is very frequent to not receive the maximum bandwidth at any given time on a home broadband connection. It is perfectly normal and acceptable as long as it does not affect your user experience.
ISPs struggling financially would have an tendency to increase the contention ratio to improve their profit and this is usually when things get wrong for the end customer.
For businesses, best practice is to provide very low contention ratio as businesses need steady bandwidth and are more keen to consume the complete capacity consistently due to the number of users behind a single connection.
Some may wonder why a 10mbps business Internet service can be two to three times more expensive than a 10mbps for home use. The answer to that is contention ratio.
For those that will try to convince you otherwise, beware. There should be a significant difference between home broadband and business broadband price. And if there is none, this is definitely a sign that the ISP contend both services on a similar basis which is going to affect your business.
For those who still doubt about this, lets take a look at one of the main service providers in the US: Verizon.
Verizon offers home and business Gigabit Internet connections.
A Gigabit connection for your home is going to cost you $79.99/month whereas the same service for business costs nearly three times more: $214.99/month.
To end this article, here is a small selection of the top ISPs in Myanmar for your business.
Note: This list is alphabetic and non exhaustive.
AGB Communication is a trading company, importing and exporting a variety of products into and from Myanmar. AGB received in 2015 a NFS-I license authorizing them to deliver Internet services all over Myanmar primarily focusing on Yangon initially but rapidly expanding to other regions.
AGB core business being IT, it naturally focuses on providing Internet services to corporate customers but residential plans are available as well.
Technology-wise, AGB provide service through Wireless (WiFi) and Fiber (FTTB – FTTH). Beside Internet broadband, AGB also provide Virtual Private Server, Cloud Storage and Voice Services.
AGB broadband is available in Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyi, Naypyidaw, Taunggyi, Mawlamyine, Myitkyina, Monywa and Pyay.
Frontiir aka Myanmarnet is one of the leading Internet service providers in Myanmar. The ISP owns a NFS-I license but also an IGW (Internet Gateway license) that allows the provider to source its bandwidth directly from overseas without any middle man.
Frontiir is providing both home and business Internet. For businesses, the service provider is also offering Domestic Private Leased Circuit (DPLC) and Full managed Wifi for the hospitality sector.
Globalnet also owns both NFS-I and IGW licenses and run one of the biggest fiber network in Yangon. The service provider recently launched 4G services in Mawlamyine, Bago and Pyi. Globalnet which operates under the brand 5BB, provide cost effective Internet services for business and home use.
Golden TMH is a service provider, NFS-I and IGW holder as well. GTMH focus is exclusively corporate services. The ISP provides a wide range of service: Internet Broadband Services & DIA, MPLS / IPVPN and VSAT services. The service provider also run datacenter facilities and offer cloud service in partnership with Hong Kong International carrier HGC. GTMH was recently cited on our website as the best datacenter in Myanmar.
Whether you are a a startup or a multinational company, you need reliable Internet to run your business. We hope this article will help you to get around the usual tricks and find the right solution to support your business.
Now that you have the basics, it is time for a little practice. Try our Internet Finder Tool, and get in touch with the Internet Service Providers available in your area.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.