Keeping in mind the big benefits of connectivity that broadband brings, Myanmar is ready to make all the right moves to create better broadband infrastructure and enable telecom operators to deliver high-speed connectivity driven services for the masses.
Speaking at CommunicAsia 2015 in Singapore, Thaung Tin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Myanmar informed about the status of broadband in Myanmar and how the country is moving ahead towards creation of better connectivity solutions.
“Myanmar’s mobile penetration has jumped in recent times, increasing internet usage to ~15%. Most of this is on 3G, which can be considered near-broadband. Myanmar recently has ~30 Gbps international bandwidth (2014), but rapidly expanding with MPT expanding IP transit capacity, new mobile operators building their own – likely to reach total ~120 Gbps in the coming 2-3 years,” he explains.
Myanmar’s current international capacity of ~27.4 Gbps is almost completely utilized during peak hours, resulting in slow internet speeds today. “Based on benchmarks, Myanmar needs to upgrade its capacity 2 to 3 Kbps per capita in the short term. This translates to a total requirement of 120 to 180 Gbps. However, the overall broadband picture remains weak and this needs to change,” he added.
- Very low international bandwidth – leads to slow internet connections
- Low fixed line / ADSL reach, capacity and penetration
- Domestic connectivity limited, large trunk routes being upgraded
- Fiber only available in large cities, in limited areas
- Expensive IP Transit price leading to expensive internet connections
- Satellite connections still are the only reliable source of connectivity in remote areas
- International connectivity is expanding but still limited – heavy reliance on Cross Border cable (Existing) creates a single point of failure
“Future opportunities exist all along the value chain of developing mobile and fixed broadband – the market has a potential of very fast growth. MPT and other providers are rapidly growing their fixed line /backhaul networks. ISPs can invest in the last mile fiber / cable through appropriate licenses and lease capacity on the main network. Typically, this is a profitable business model for many small ISPs in emerging markets – they offer their services in one city / one region. Choice of technology can be open – this can be fiber, or can be cable to offer simple Cable TV services, or WiMax or similar radio technologies,” he adds on.
How Broadband Can Drive Innovation and Opportunities
- Expansion of fixed broadband and multiple ISPs will drive the demand for local fiber / cable development, along with supporting infrastructure like ducts / trenches, poles, cabinets etc.
- This will be a key opportunity area for many specialized construction firms
- Further ongoing maintenance of such infrastructure would also be an opportunity area for engineering / maintenance firms Infrastructure companies
- Increase in broadband will come with increase in computer penetration
- Large opportunities exist for vendors and resellers of computers, laptops, set-top boxes, modems / routers, technical support staff etc.
- Mobile broadband growth will also drive the demand for pocket WiFi /3G hotspot devices, potentially in bundled deals with the telecom operators
- Further up the value chain, opportunities also exist for hardware providers for switches, cable equipment and various network electronics
“With the increase in Internet usage, continuously larger population of Myanmar will be online – demanding various content. This creates an opportunity for traditional and new / interactive content development, targeting TV / film audiences (consuming streaming media, or using triple play services) and internet audiences (interactive mobile content through apps etc, websites, downloadable media such as wallpapers, ringtones, caller tones etc.),” he explained.