Statement published 3 February 2020:
The Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has directed all mobile operators in Myanmar, including Telenor Myanmar, to again temporarily stop mobile Internet traffic in five townships in Rakhine and Chin States. The shutdown, which does not include voice and SMS services, went into effect 10.00 pm local time on the 3rd of February. Telenor Myanmar’s customers in the affected areas are being informed via SMS.
As basis for its directive, the MoTC has referenced security requirements and public interest. The directive limits the duration of the shutdown in the five townships to three months. The five townships in question were previously under data network shutdown from 20 June to 31 August 2019. The directive comes in addition to the ongoing network shutdown in four other townships, where services have been restricted since June 2019.
In an effort to mitigate some of the adverse impact of the Internet shutdown and enable continued communication, Telenor Myanmar has reduced international call rates for the affected townships. This effort will be expanded to the five townships.
Telenor Myanmar continues its dialogue with the authorities of Myanmar to promote restored services. Telenor Group and Telenor Myanmar have also continued dialogue towards local and international stakeholders to mitigate impact on civilians.
Telenor Group believes in open communication and has repeatedly emphasised that freedom of expression through access to telecoms services should be maintained for humanitarian purposes, especially during times of conflict.
Update 2 May 2020:
The MoTC has allowed all operators to restore Internet services in the Maungdaw township in Rakhine from the 2 May at 10 pm. Telenor has fully restored internet services in Maungdaw accordingly.
- Referencing current security requirements, the authorities ordered four townships (Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Myaebon and Paletwa) to remain under Internet shutdown until 1 August 2020
- MoTC did not specify when the network may be opened for the other four townships (Ponnagyun, Myauk-U, Kyauktaw, Minbya) that have been under Internet shutdown since 20 June 2019
Voice and SMS services remain open in all townships. Telenor Myanmar continues the dialogue with authorities in Myanmar with the aim to restore Internet services as soon as possible.
Update 12 May 2020:
Myanmar authorities have set a time limit to the network shutdowns in the four townships Ponnagyun, Myauk-U, Kyauktaw and Minbya. With this updated directive, the current network shutdown of all the eight townships in Rakhine and Chin states is set to expire on 1 August 2020.