Until September 2013 there was only one telecoms provider, which has run the mobile network and backbone gateway for Myanmar since their construction. In 2013, two new international telecoms players entered Myanmar, providing the modern and affordable services necessary to bring the country into the 21st century. With 55m unconnected citizens, these firms have the opportunity to tackle one of the final frontiers for mobile penetration. However, Myanmar’s telecoms sector remains one of the most underdeveloped in the world, and immense challenges lie ahead for the international giants as well as the local government and domestic providers. Meanwhile, the doors have been opened for local and foreign firms to begin expanding the IT space and some 700 companies are now registered with the Myanmar Computer Federation. In 2014 Myanmar’s IT industry will see an explosion of activity that promises to transform almost every other sector of the economy over the coming years. Yet experience and training are severely lacking at present, and education will need to catch up quickly with the rush of technology if the country is to take full advantage of the trend.
This chapter contains interviews with U Myat Hein, Minister of Communications and Information Technology; Ross Cormack, CEO, Ooredoo Myanmar; Ren Geng, Managing Director, Huawei; and U Shane Thu Aung, Vice-Chairman, RedLink Communications; and a viewpoint from Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google.