Telecoms License Awards Delayed in Burma

A man talks on his mobile phone by the street side of Rangoon last week. (Photo: Reuters)

RANGOON—The highly anticipated awarding of two telecoms licenses to foreign companies or consortia has been postponed in Burma, lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Burma was set to announce two winners of 11 remaining bidders on Thursday. But the country’s lower house of Parliament said on Wednesday that the licensing awards would be delayed until lawmakers passed a new telecommunications law, which is still in the drafting process.

The decision to postpone the awards was made after a member of Parliament’s telecoms committee submitted an emergency statement to lawmakers urging them to favor local joint ventures in the selection of telecoms operators.

As a result of that recommendation—which came from Myo Swe, secretary of the telecoms committee and a lawmaker representing Tamu town in Sagaing Division— lawmakers in the lower house agreed to postpone announcing the winners of the tender.

“In some cases, we need to prioritize national interests,” Phyo Min Thein, a lawmaker from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, told The Irrawaddy. “Today nobody objected to the statement on the telecoms tender. Neither did I.”

Phyo Min Thein said all 401 lawmakers at Wednesday’s Parliament session approved the emergency statement and urged the Union government to implement it.

Other NLD lawmakers said they were surprised by the emergency statement and did not have enough time during the Parliament session to consider it before being asked to make a decision.

Thiri Kyar Nyo, the country representative for Digicel in Burma, declined to comment on Parliament’s decision. Digicel is one of 11 international companies shortlisted for the telecoms tender.

One Response to Telecoms License Awards Delayed in Burma

  1. Other important things are protection of citizens’ private information, their lawful security, and security of the nation. Since our education, skills, technology level is law and we do not own the technology there are a lot of serious things to carefully consider and prepare before we move ahead.

    Look at the Edward Snowden case:-

    Where the data of our public, our country, our life will be stored?; who have the control and access to these data?; explanation of the details of flow of these data and other current and future possibilities must be presented to the public.

    Finally it comes to the education again. We must promote education, skill and discipline training, physical & mental health, and clean/green environment as ones of top priorities.
    We must have a substantial number of smart educated and skilled persons in diverse fields.
    We must think analytically and penetratively. We must be open enough to think about all possibilities and all possible views.

    Be careful. We do not want to be under the watch of global big brother.
    We do not want to be a big slave of global dictators.

    We must have our own components of the technology, must be able to produce enough of life basic needs at least, must be able to create and maintain a clean, green, developing and healthy communities ourselves. We need sort of self sufficiency.

    “Human desires” together with our “lower levels in some human properties compared to some foreigners” can be used by some organizations and peoples to harm our society.

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