Government-owned Myanmar operator MPT has reportedly launched 4G services in bits of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, making it the last of the country’s three cellcos to commercially roll out 4G, albeit with limited coverage.
According to The Myanmar Times, MPT has established 4G hotspots in several Yangon shopping centers, MPT-branded stores in Pabedan township and Yangon’s international airport, as well as a few shopping centers in Nay Pyi Taw.
Customers will need a new SIM card to use the 4G services, as MPT’s current 2G/3G SIMs don’t support 4G. MPT says customers can go to its shops to exchange SIMs free of charge.
MPT is the last of Myanmar’s three licensed cellcos to offer 4G. Ooredoo Myanmar was first out of the gate with 4G in May this year in Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon, while Telenor launched its services in Nay Pyi Taw in July.
MPT director of marketing U Khin Maung Myint told The Myanmar Times that the operator is planning to roll out 4G across the whole country next year, provided it can acquire additional 1800-MHz spectrum at next year’s planned spectrum auction. (It’s currently offering 4G service on the 2100-MHz band.)
MPT isn’t alone in that regard. The 1800-MHz auction is expected to be a highly contested one – so much so that all three operators announced at the end of last month that they would skip the 2600-MHz auction that was scheduled for October 17, the newspaper reported.
Similar to the recent spectrum auction in India, 1800 MHz is prized spectrum for 4G because its superior propagation properties compared to the bands above 2100 MHz. MPT, Ooredoo and Telenor are keen to save their money for the 1800-MHz auction scheduled for early next year.