India’s Bharti Airtel has expressed interest in acquiring a telecoms license in Myanmar, according to a source cited by The Wall Street Journal.
“We have sent our expression of interest in acquiring a mobile phone services license to the Myanmar government,” the executive is quoted as saying.
Bharti Airtel’s (New Delhi, India) Asian arm already operates mobile-phone businesses in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, besides India, and Myanmar obviously holds appeal for an operator with considerable experience of serving underpenetrated, low-income markets.
Official estimates put mobile-phone penetration in Myanmar at just 9%, but the country’s government is hoping to increase the figure to between 75% and 80% by 2015/16.
It is planning to introduce a new law by June to deregulate the market, which is currently controlled by the state.
Authorities had invited telecoms operators to express their interest in entering Myanmar by 25 January, and plan to offer two licenses before June.