Vietnam telco improves chance in Myanmar as 2 major rivals pull out

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Viettel's chances of getting a mobile license in Myanmar are thought to have improved after Vodafone and China Mobile pulled the plug on an expected joint bid.

The Chinese and British firms, the world's largest and second-largest telcos, said they did not expect the investment to be profitable.

"The opportunity does not meet the strict internal investment criteria to which both Vodafone and China Mobile adhere," Reuters quoted Vodafone as saying May 31 after the Myanmar government announced the final license conditions.

The two had planned to bid for one of the two mobile licenses offered by Myanmar, which hopes to double the number of operators to four in future.

Viettel is among 10 international applicants on the short list for a 15-year license to build and operate the network.

The two bids are worth US$1.5 billion.

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News website VnExpress quoted an unidentified Viettel source as saying the group stands a very big chance of winning.

The group would soon have to present its business plan to an assessment board, the source said, adding that many of its senior staff are working on it.

Myanmar is likely to announce the bid results on June 27.

Viettel has said it considers Myanmar a promising telecom market since only 10 percent of the country's 60 million people use mobile phones now. Myanmar hopes to increase the number to 80 percent by 2016.

Viettel has a presence in seven countries including Cambodia and Laos.

Last year its foreign investment topped $600 million.

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