Vietnam telco misses out on Myanmar mobile license

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Military-run Viettel lost its bid to get a mobile license in Myanmar, with Norway's Telenor ASA and Qatar's Ooredoo QSC successfully bidding in the six-month race for two licenses.

The winners of the bids, which were worth an estimated US$1.5 billion, are allowed to build and operate nationwide networks for 15 years.

The licenses are among the biggest prizes for foreign companies since Myanmar President Thein Sein moved to allow greater economic freedom after taking power in 2011, Bloomberg said.

A Viettel spokesperson told local news website VnExpress that the firm was unhappy to lose the bid in a market where the mobile penetration rate is 9 percent compared to 70 percent in Cambodia and 87 percent in Laos two countries where Viettel has a presence.

Myanmar has a population of 64 million.

But the outcome was not really a shock to Viettel since it had to take on 17 international rivals, the spokesperson said.

Earlier its hopes had risen when the world's largest and second-largest telcos, Vodafone and China Mobile, withdrew from a planned joint bid.

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