Ooredoo's Myanmar deal sparks outrage

Radical Buddhists call for boycott after Qatari telecom company wins contract

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Ooredoo's Myanmar deal sparks outrage Myanmar was ruled by a military junta until two years ago and the subsequent lifting of US-imposed sanctions has seen foreign investment rise exponentially.
By  Courtney Trenwith Published  July 1, 2013

Myanmar's decision to award a major telecommunications contract to Qatar's Ooredoo has sparked religious hatred among radical Buddhists.

Hours after the announcement on Thursday, a monk who is one of the leaders of a radical nationalist Buddhist movement called for a boycott of one of the two companies because it is based in Qatar, a Muslim country.

"Did the government have such little choice?" the monk, Ashin Wimala, a leader of the 969 movement, said in an interview with the New York Times.

"Why did they award this to a Muslim company?"

There also was a flurry of critical comments on the Facebook page where the government announcement was posted.

"Why? Why? Why Muslim company omg," said one.

"Say no to Ooredoo," said another.

Ooredoo and Telenor Mobile Communications of Norway each won a 15-year licence to provide mobile services to the south-east Asian nation, which is emerging from a long history of being ruled by a military junta.

The contract will require building networks from scratch in a country where a tiny 5 to 10% of the 55m population has access to mobile coverage.

Myanmar was ruled by a military junta until two years ago and the subsequent lifting of US-imposed sanctions has seen foreign investment rise exponentially.

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