SingTel touts satellite assistance to Myanmar

SingTel touts satellite assistance to Myanmar

Summary: Amid race for the country's first foreign telco licenses, the SingTel-led consortium highlights its capabilities to fast track Myanmar's satellite ambitions, including assisting the launch of a national satellite in future.

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Amid an ongoing tender for one of two sought after telco licences in Myanmar, the SingTel consortium has highlighted plans to help develop the country's satellite capabilities and boost its international connectivity.

In a statement on Tuesday, SingTel and its partners KBZ Group and Myanmar Telephone Company (M-Tel) claimed their bid far exceeded the government's tender requirements in many areas, including network coverage plans and service prices.

For example, SingTel pointed out it would build a "world-class mobile network", which will cover 95 percent of the Myanmar's population in 36 months and provide affordable mobile services for both rural and urban customers. The telco added its investment would attract more foreign investment and create jobs.

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SingTel has pledged to help Myanmar to launch a national satellite regardless of tender results.

Southeast Asia's largest telco also pointed Myanmar would be able to leverage its fleet of satellites and submarine cable footprint.

"To accelerate Myanmar's development of its own international infrastructure, SingTel will invite the government to participate in feasibility studies for future satellite programmes and lend its assistance in the launch of a Myanmar national satellite," it said in the statement.

SingTel added it would promote the inclusion of Myanmar to participate in the planning of the Southeast Asia-Middle East-West Europe (SEA-ME-WE) 5 submarine cable, similar to the support extended during the planning and construction of SEA-ME-WE 3. It said the assistance was not conditional on the tender results. 

Its consortium partner KBZ Group is one of the largest conglomerates in Myanmar. Its affiliates include KBZ Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the country, domestic airline Air KBZ, and industrial developer KBZ Industries. The third partner is M-Tel, which is based in Myanmar and provides telecom-related consultancy for industry projects.

There are currently 11 consortia left in the tender for two additional telco licenses, which closed last week and will be decided by the end of the month.

The SingTel consortium is the latest to drum up buzz for its bid. Last week, Bharti Group chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal pledged to invest US$1 billion in the initial infrastructure rollout if the Airtel consortium was selected. Separately, Norway-headquartered Telenor group said it was "uniquely qualified" to support Myanmar achieve its mobile telecommunications objectives and highlighted its 16 years experience in Asia.

Topics: Telcos, Networking, SingTel

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Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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