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Soros fund to rival Qatar for Myanmar licence

Billionaire investor pursues foray into ‘untapped’ mobile market

Soros’ consortium said it would invest $9bn in the country’s mobile phone network if it is granted a licence.
Soros’ consortium said it would invest $9bn in the country’s mobile phone network if it is granted a licence.

A consortium led by billionaire investor George Soros is to rival Qatar's Ooredoo in bidding for a mobile network licence in Myanmar.

The CEO of Ooredoo, formerly known as Qatar Telecom, has previously described the South-East Asian nation's telecommunications sector as "one of the last untapped markets".

Mobile penetration in Myanmar, which transitioned to a civilian government after decades of military rule two years ago, stands at about 5%.

The Soros consortium, which includes Digicel Group and local property firm YSH Finance, said it would invest $9bn in the country's mobile phone network if it is granted a licence.

It added that its fourth-generation network would be up and running by December and reach 96% of the country's population by 2016.

China Mobile and Vodafone Group have already withdrawn from the bidding process for the licence, citing a lack of return on investment, but the likes of Airtel, France Telecom, Telenor and MTN remain in the running.

CHANNEL AWARD 2018