Threatening sky, heavy rain, flooding, Internet cuts, power outage… Myanmar is in the midst of the rainy season.
Besides the usual “monsoon promotions”, the Internet market in Myanmar is very quiet these days. For some of the service providers, it is probably the last round, for others there is hope and growth will irremediably come as broadband penetration increase month on month.
This is a brief digest of the news that kept us entertained during the summer:
Ooredoo dares to say the “5G” word
Earlier this month, Ooredoo celebrated its 4th anniversary in Myanmar with a wave of solid achievements and news to come. In the first quarter of 2018, Ooredoo was the fastest 4G provider in Myanmar according to Ookla intelligence report.
Ooredoo continue to expand its 4G Plus network and plan to cover 92% of the population across 300 townships by the end of 2018. The Qatar-based operator is undergoing further upgrades of its network, upgrade which pave the way to 5G.
Ooredoo Qatar was the first mobile operator in the world to launch 5G commercial network back in May 2018.
Ananda changes course
Ananda recently updated his offering and is now selling standalone SIMs for 1,500Ks with 1GB of free data. That may sound like a detail but it is not.
Despite owning a chunk of precious 4G spectrum, Ananda is a Service Provider and as such can only offer mobile data-only services.
At launch time, Ananda offered two type of bundles. The first one comes with a small MiFi router with a battery that allows the customer to enjoy unlimited Internet all over Yangon. The second bundle comes with a full-fledged home WiFi router which can support up to 32 users.
With this initial offering, Ananda was definitely targeting the broadband market which is still largely untapped in Myanmar.
Over the first three months, Ananda has seen its service impacted by performance issues mostly driven by the lack of indoor coverage. Alan Sinfield, Ananda new CEO stated recently: “We need more sites across the region to carry the load”.
Ananda technical problem is a godsend for Myanmar fiber providers which welcome a reflux of subscribers disappointed by the mobile data provider.
There is good hope that Ananda manage to overcome its teething problem but it will take time and the company has an immense pressure to recover the hefty investment made on the license and network rollout.
By offering standalone SIM, Ananda is eyeing to a brand new segment which was not the initial target: mobile users. Most of the smartphones in Myanmar are dual-SIM and customers tend to use the main SIM for voice and data whereas the second SIM is used to benefit from promotions especially driven by data.
As none of the mobile operators are currently offering unlimited data packs, Ananda is looking at getting into the customer smartphone as the second SIM.
With this new strategy, Ananda can tap into an existing market which is much bigger than the home broadband market.
It is an interesting move which demonstrate that the new service provider is probably way behind its targets and looking to catch up as soon as possible. The big question is whether the mobile users will be willing to adopt Ananda Internet services knowing that mobile operators are far ahead in term of 4G performance compared to Ananda.
In July 2018, Opensignal announced that Yangon is the 4th fastest city in East Asia with an average LTE speed of 27.2 Mbps.
MPT launched Unique Customer-Tailored Offers
Beginning of August, MPT announced the launch of a new segmented product. MPT claims to screen the customer mobile usage to offer him deals that perfectly fits his needs.
By dialing *555#, every customer can get access to unique offers.
Realistically, the end game behind such customer segmentation is to drive up-sell and cross-sell opportunities but customer could expect a better use of his money by using segmented services. The final objective remains to increase the customer monthly spent (ARPU).
Telenor launch Home Wireless Broadband nationwide
In July, Telenor has announced that its home wireless service will be available nationwide. For 75,000 Ks, customers get a wireless modem and 90 days of unlimited data at 5Mbps. After the first 3 months, the monthly subscription costs 30,000 Ks.
The offer is promised to a big success especially in the countryside where the broadband offering is inexistant. It is an interesting move for Telenor to offer such service nationwide but it is important to keep in mind that the spectrum is shared with the mobile users.
Therefore the popularity of the home wireless service may impact the performance of mobile users which is and will remain Telenor main revenue stream.
Is Telenor shooting itself in the foot? Lets see.
Fiber Internet price continues to drop
Yatanarporn Teleport and Netcore are now offering 2 mbps for 30,000 Ks per month. For 1,500 Ks more (31,500 Ks per month), WeLink will give you 3 mbps.
But the cheapest fiber offer is Myanmar Speednet with a ridiculous price of 15,000 Ks per month for 1 mbps fiber Internet!