Myanmar moves to digital

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From ‘Mingalabar’ to Mission ‘Full Bar’

As Telenor Myanmar turns one this week, its CEO, Petter Furberg, reflects on the breakneck transformation in Myanmar – and how our youngest mobile operator will continue to play a central role in it.

The first month

On September 27th 2014, we launched our operations in Mandalay. We started with only 68 towers and our Blue Wave customer engagement activity, signing up close to 120,000 customers. A month after that, we have 348 towers and 520,000 new customers.

In the vortex of change

Myanmar is in the process of a transition that has potential to create opportunity and shared prosperity for the people of it’s country. And our industry has a significant role in that change, as there is a pent-up demand for telecommunications and mobile internet throughout Myanmar.

The share of smartphones in mobile networks has grown faster than that of other markets, indicating that all future growth will come from data, and at a faster rate than we initially expected.

After a year of building our network coverage in cities and larger towns, we are continuing our expansion into rural townships and villages. Our biggest challenge has been, and still is, to build enough towers and sites.

The “to-build” list: Mass-market, distribution, open culture

Our focus, from the start, was centered on building three distinct capabilities: mass-market, distribution, and open culture.

Firstly, a mass-market focus aligns the organisation towards the large non-served segments of the market, and it ensures that we stay focused on affordable and simple products and services. Secondly, a distribution model that fits with the mass market in terms of our focus on the number of outlets and recommendation from retailers. And lastly, our focus on an open and winning culture is based on the Telenor way of work and values.

We are deeply committed to being a leader in responsible and sustainable business practices – so vital in driving change for a country like this. And we are committed to continue the good work we have done with our partners in empowering Myanmar communities in the areas of health, empowerment through internet adoption, and non-formal education, among others.