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Qatar's Ooredoo eyes Myanmar licence

Mobile penetration in south-east Asian country currently stands at 5%

Ooredoo considers Myanmar ‘one of the last untapped markets’.
Ooredoo considers Myanmar ‘one of the last untapped markets’.

Ooredoo, the telecommunications operator formerly known as Qatar Telecom, plans to bid for a licence in Myanmar, the company's CEO told Bloomberg.

Nasser Marifih described the south-east Asian nation, which currently has mobile penetration of about 5%, as "one of the last untapped markets".

"It's a very good opportunity in southeast Asia," he told the news agency. "In terms of financing, we have the capability to do that."

Investment interest in Myanmar, also known as Burma, has increased in the wake of 2011 elections, which technically resulted in the end of military rule and led to the lifting of a number of US imposed sanctions on the country.

Ooredoo's Marifih also said that the operator had raised about $12bn in financing to back its bid to acquire a majority stake in Maroc Telecom.

Ooredoo is competing with the UAE's Etisalat for the stake, with both company's having made binding offers last month.

The stake is currently held by French media giant Vivendi, which is said to be looking to offload the holding by October.

Etisalat has reportedly sought $8bn of loans for its bid for Maroc, and is said to have offered a higher price than Ooredoo.

Marifih told Bloomberg that Ooredoo had made a "strong, compelling offer" for the Maroc stake. "We still believe we have a strong chance to win this bid," he added.

Earlier in the month South Africa's MTN Group launched a campaign to strengthen its bid for a licence in Myanmar.