Telenor launches in Yangon

Telenor has officially launched in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, and what will soon become the epicenter of the country’s mobile internet boom. More than 300 employees greeted hundreds of thousands of new customers Sunday, October 26, as Telenor SIM cards hit the shelves.

Written: Oct 2014

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the sun rose on Yangon early on Sunday, October 26, a long awaited wave of Telenor blue splashed into the city – a perfect match to Yangon’s clear skies that morning.

“With one million SIM cards now in circulation in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, Telenor Myanmar’s first two cities in the greenfield market of 51 million, we’ve now gone truly mass market in Myanmar, releasing an additional one million SIM cards in Yangon today,” said Petter Furberg, CEO of Telenor Myanmar.

Awash in Telenor blue banners and balloons, Yangon joined Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw as cities now connected to affordable, reliable 2G and 3G services for all. More than two dozen 25-person trucks, decked from head to toe in Telenor blue and loaded with hundreds of lively Telenor employees, balloons and musical instruments, hit the pavement of an awakening Yangon.

We’ve been waiting for you

And over and over, customers on the street corners, in the markets and in our Telenor-owned shops in central Yangon told Telenor, “We’ve been waiting for you.”

Yangon is the largest, most economically influential city in Myanmar, so Telenor wanted to be sure the network was ready to handle the traffic once SIM cards would be released. Telenor Myanmar SIM cards are sold at the low price of USD 1.50. “With one million SIM cards in circulation in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, and an additional one million SIM cards released in Yangon today, we are bringing long-awaited affordable connectivity to the main three cities. Our next step is to start expanding our network into the rural areas in order to reach the mass market of this vast greenfield,” said Petter Furberg, CEO of Telenor Myanmar.

Lives will change

“The world will never see anything like this again,” said Sigve Brekke, EVP and head of Asia operations for Telenor Group, after visiting a development center for women in the Yangon neighborhood of Parami. “The people of Yangon are among the many millions in Myanmar who have never owned or used a mobile phone before. Starting today, their lives will change.”

People shouted from the streets as the Telenor trucks paraded past, children running up to the truck to get a hold of coveted Telenor propeller pinwheels, blue balloons and blue hats. Police officers, construction workers and energetic pedestrians showed off their newly purchased Telenor SIM cards to the Telenor motorcade passing by. Mothers waiting at bus stops yelled questions about when we would finally launch in Yangon. “Today! We’re launching in Yangon today!” cried a Telenor Myanmar Sourcing team member.

Next stop, the countryside

The Yangon launch marks both a key milestone- and a turning point of Telenor Myanmar’s nationwide rollout. With a population of 7.35 million, Yangon is the largest city in the country. After the Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw launches, the great majority of Myanmar’s urban population are now within Telenor Myanmar’s coverage. With Yangon now officially in business, Telenor turns its eyes to the horizon – spreading 2G and 3G into the smaller cities and towns and across the Myanmar countryside is next, with the goal to cover 90 percent of the country within five years.