Qatari Telecom Operator Ooredoo Exits Military-Ruled Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 8 September 2022

Telecom giant Ooredoo sold its Myanmar operation on Thursday to the Singapore-based Nine Communications firm for US$576 million, completing the exodus of foreign telecom companies from Myanmar following last year’s coup.

The Qatari company announced on Thursday that it has reached an agreement to sell 100 per cent of its equity in Myanmar to Nine Communications for an enterprise value of approximately US$576 million and total equity consideration of US$162 million.

The sale is subject to the customary closing conditions, including Myanmar regulatory approvals, added Ooredoo.

Nine Communications is owned by the conglomerate Link Family Office and U Nyan Win. U Nyan Win has more than 40 years of experience in the telecom industry, Ooredoo stated.

Established in 2014, Ooredoo was Myanmar’s third-biggest telecom operator with nearly 15 million users in 2020.

After the Norwegian telecom company Telenor exited Myanmar in March, Ooredoo informed Myanmar’s Posts and Telecommunications Department, the country’s telecom regulator, in July of its intention to sell its Myanmar business.

Telenor sold its Myanmar operation to the junta-affiliated firm Shwe Byain Phyu, with a minority stake purchased by Lebanese investment firm M1. The unit is now known as ATOM in Myanmar.

The Norwegian firm said that it sold its Myanmar unit to avoid European Union sanctions after “continued pressure” from the military regime to activate intercept surveillance technology.

Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, CEO & Managing Director of the Ooredoo Group, said of the company’s decision to leave Myanmar: “It was important for us to make this call at a time when Ooredoo Myanmar is performing at its strongest to ensure the business continues from strength to strength. We will ensure a smooth transition with the least possible disruption adhering to all local requirements.”

Other telecom service providers in Myanmar include MPT, a large state-backed operator run as a joint venture with a Japanese company, and Mytel, a venture between the Myanmar military and Viettel, owned by Vietnam’s Defense Ministry.