Over the past few years, 4G networks have become widely available in Myanmar. Myanmar owns one of the fastest mobile data networks in the world.
In Yangon, the average speed on a 4G connection is around 15 mbps. It is even higher in Mandalay with 20 mbps in average (Source: Ookla Myanmar Speedtest Award October 2018).
Mobile data is rapidly expanding to the regions. If you are traveling around the country and wondering which mobile operator to use, check out the OpenSignal app that gives a very good overview of the mobile coverage in the country.
If you use mobile data extensively and frequently share your smartphone’s internet connection with friends and family using the hotspot feature, you may have noticed that your battery drains out pretty quickly. Plus, your hotspot coverage is so limited that your friends will lose service if you leave the room with your phone.
For these reasons, you may be looking for a MiFi device.
MiFi is a brand name used to describe a wireless router that acts as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
A MiFi device is connected to a cellular network (3G, 4G) just like your smartphone and provides internet access for up to ten devices.
The coverage of MiFi router is limited and only suitable to connect devices close by, in the same room.
Some MiFi hotspot routers embed a battery backup which is quite useful to roam around or stay connected during power outages.
If you are considering buying a MiFi router, here are a few things you may need to check out before closing the deal.
Is it sim-locked?
Telecom providers such as Ooredoo, Telenor and Ananda sell mobile hotspot routers directly in their stores. The price is often quite attractive but watch out, these devices are sim-locked.
Sim-locked consists of a hardware or software modification of the mobile device to to restrict the use of the device on a specific network. This means that you will not be able to insert a Telenor SIM in a Ooredoo mobile hotspot device and vice versa.
Therefore, if you decide to buy your device from a mobile operator, make sure that you intend to stick with this mobile operator as you will not be able to reuse the MiFi device with a different operator.
What is the maximum speed?
As mobile data prices are strictly regulated in Myanmar, mobile operators are fiercely competing on network performance. To reach the highest speeds available in 4G, mobile operators have invested massively in network and technology upgrades.
In 2017, Ooredoo launched its 4G Pro network which relies on the latest LTE-Advanced technology features such as carrier aggregation, 256QAM, 4×4 MIMO and License Assisted Access (LAA).
If you would like to understand what these features are, check this article out.
If you don’t, just keep in mind that these features all aim to provide more bandwidth to the end user. More bandwidth means higher speed.
Although the network is capable of achieving super high speed, your end device should also be compatible with these latest technology improvements. If it isn’t, you won’t be able to take full benefit of the network capabilities.
If you are looking for a MiFi device, check on the box or ask the sales representative what the higher speed your device can achieve. You should also make sure that your device is 4G capable. Some of the cheap devices sold in the market are only 3G capable.
One major upside of using a mobile hotspot is that it does not drain out your smartphone battery. If you plan to travel for some time, you should also make sure your mobile hotspot can run for an extended period of time without recharging.
Device runtime is an important criteria when choosing a mobile hotspot. You can refer to the battery capacity expressed in mAh to assess the device runtime.
As an example, 2000 mAh of battery capacity shall give you 8-10 hours runtime.
When you choose your MiFi device, always look for the device with the biggest battery capacity. But keep in mind that the bigger the battery, the heavier the device will be.
Take a look at some of the MiFi devices available in Myanmar:
HUAWEI 3G Portable WiFi Router E5220
This Huawei device is available on Shop.com.mm for Ks 43,000. The model does not support 4G/LTE but only 3G HSPA+ which gives you a maximum speed of 21.6 Mbps.
That is a good entry level device if your budget is limited.
Prolink PRT7011L Portable 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot
This high end model costs Ks 85,000. It is available at Technoland.
For this price, you get a 4G WiFi Hotspot that can achieve up to 150Mbps in download and 50Mbps in upload.
It comes with a 2000 Mah battery that shall give you 8 to 10 hours of battery runtime.
Singtech MW1 4G Mobile Wi-Fi Router
This Wifi mobile hotspot is sold on shop.com.mm for an attractive price of Ks 35,000. It is compatible with both 3G and 4G and embed a big chunky battery of 5200 Mah.
This model can also be used as a powerbank to charge your smartphone while you are traveling.
Xiaomi ZMI MF855 4G Wi-Fi Router
Xiaomi is not only a smartphone vendor but also offers an impressive range of goodies and accessories: earphones, powerbanks, car chargers but also mobile hotspot devices.
The ZMI MF855 is sold in the Mi Store in Myanmar. The device embeds an impressive 7800mAh battery which gives you 3 days of complete battery runtime.
The device is also capable of achieving very high speed thanks to its 4G compatibility.
Top Mobile WiFi Hotspots in Myammar
- Cheapest: Singtech 4G Mobile WIFI MW1
- Biggest battery life: Xiaomi ZMI MF855
- Best value for money: Singtech 4G Mobile WIFI MW1
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.