Telecoms License Awards to Go Ahead as Planned

By The Irrawaddy 27 June 2013

RANGOON—Despite a decision by Burma’s Parliament to postpone the awarding of telecoms licenses to two foreign companies or consortia, the body overseeing the bidding process says the license winners will be announced as planned on Thursday.

Set Aung, chairman of the Telecoms Tender Committee and deputy minister for national planning and economic development, said the committee had already selected two winners out of 11 bidders and would publicly announce them on Thursday.

“We are going to announce the winners today, he told The Irrawaddy on Thursday morning.

“We have to treat international and local companies fair and square,” he said. “If not, we will be disgraced in the international community. I agree that we should favor local companies, but we shouldn’t take the wrong direction in doing so.”

Burma’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. This move in Parliament to delay the awarding came 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.