The Irrawaddy

Yangon Has 4th-Fastest 4G Speeds in East Asia, Survey Finds

A mobile phone user reads Burmese-language news on an Internet-enabled device.

YANGON — Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon ranked fourth among East Asian cities in terms of 4G download and upload speeds in a report released by OpenSignal on Thursday.

The telecommunications coverage mapping company studied 12 major economic centers in the region for a three-month period.

“The result is surprising,” said OpenSignal, which listed a group of cities with impressive 4G download speeds exceeding 25 Mbps, including Yangon.

Myanmar’s former capital offered average download speeds of over 27 Mbps and an upload speed of 11.4 Mbps. The country launched commercial 4G services over the past two years, which perhaps explains why it is delivering such fast connections.

Among East Asian cities, Seoul ranked No. 1, followed by Singapore. The two cities, which offer average download speeds greater than 45 Mbps, were both among the fastest cities in the world, let alone East Asia, OpenSignal said.

The report identified a large group of cities in the region with average 4G download speeds at or below the global average of 16.9 Mbps, including Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Jakarta.

Average 4G download and upload speeds in 12 major cities in East Asia.

Myanmar has four telecom operators: Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), owned by the government and Japan’s KDDI; Ooredoo Myanmar, based in Doha, Qatar; Norwegian-owned Telenor Myanmar; and Mytel, backed by Myanmar’s military. According to OpenSignal’s “Mobile Networks” report, MPT and Ooredoo Myanmar both offer a speed of 28.1 Mbps with a 4G signal. In terms of national average signal availability, Telenor offered 72.1 percent, Ooredoo 71.2 percent and MPT 68.1 percent across the country.

Myanmar began liberalizing its telecommunications market in 2013. According to Telenor’s “Digital Myanmar 2018” report, the country has a mobile density (or penetration) rate of 105 per cent, while 80 percent of people access the Internet via smartphones. These figures remain low compared with other countries in the region. The report said that only 50 percent of the population own SIM cards, and 90 percent of SIM card owners are using 4G or 3G networks.