Back in January 2017, we released one of our first broadband price comparison.
Who would have foreseen that one year after, we will be standing there with a completely new and terrifying picture?
Twelve months ago, 2 mbps home broadband was priced slightly above 100,000 Ks per month. Prices have been divided by half and the fall is even more stunning on bigger packages.
Nowadays, 4 mbps is the new standard for broadband in Myanmar. Unilink has the cheapest price for 4 mbps broadband: 54,000Ks per month. The fiber provider not only prices cheap but also run a very aggressive acquisition strategy. Look by yourself:
Unilink charges 200,000Ks one time charge for those who subscribe month on month.
If you sign-up for one year, Unilink waives completely installation charges and even give you 2 months for free.
For those under an existing contract with a competitor, Unilink is ready to give you unconditional free installation! Even if you subscribe for one month. This is how determined the service provider is to steal customers from competition.
And this is not the only one.
5BB is one of the new ISP of 2017. Not really new as it is finally just a rebrand of the legendary famous Redlink.
5BB launched a wide range of promotions destined for fast acquisition. For the smallest plans, 5BB offers 3 to 6 months free with an annual commitment. For the largest plans, installation fees are completely waived. 5BB also owns some of the most attractive plans in the market.
Service providers in Myanmar have also stepped up their game when it comes to branding. Unilink and 5BB being the two ISPs with the most good looking marketing material. A big step forward in less than a year.
With the emergence of this new competition, it would be easy to forget Myanmarnet. Frontiir B2C arm is still one of the largest Internet consumer base in Myanmar thanks to a very dense Wifi network in Yangon. The provider also reduced its prices to match competition and owns the lowest pricepoint for an unlimited plan: 1mbps for 16,000Ks. Hard to beat.
As for MPT and Telenor, though their price for FTTH are extremely attractive, coverage remains very limited. MPT promised to rapidly expand the service availability but we are yet to see any official announcement from the public operator.
Ooredoo also launched its broadband service which is for now solely available in Mandalay. The Qatar-based operator is leveraging Yatanarpon Teleport broadband infrastructure to service customers in Mandalay.
Fight to survive
The broadband market in Myanmar has reached an unprecedented level of aggressiveness. As we pointed out in our previous article back in September, service providers in Myanmar are putting themselves at risk.
ISP in Myanmar are building expensive fiber networks that are only sustainable if they reach a critical mass of customers and a dense penetration among their fiber nodes.
In addition, every new customer comes at a cost of acquisition which is non negligible. According to our sources, connecting one FTTH customer would cost the service provider between US $100-200.
By waiving installation fees, ISPs make a bet. A bet that the customer will be faithful long enough to recover their investment.
From a financial standpoint, subsidizing a B2C service in an emerging market sounds like an extremely risky business. Setting up the scene in a market highly volatile where the customer is keen to succumb to the luring sirens of any flashy advertising and you would end up with a perfect recipe for bankrupt.
In this giant poker game, most of the ISPs have decided to put “all in” and it goes without a doubt that some of them are not going to survive another year.
Finally, a well deserved Christmas present, this is the broadband price comparison updated for December 2017.
Note that 1 mbps plans were cropped for aesthetic reasons.
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Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.