There are now 4 national mobile providers operating in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma):
- MyTel by MNTC
Two further 4G/LTE-only operators started in 2018 in a very limited area and are more geared to home coverage:
- Anada by ACS (on TDD-LTE B38 in Yangon)
- GlobalNet (on TDD-LTE B38 in Nay Pyi Taw)
Past and Present Edit
Until just a few years ago, this country was closed to the world by the military junta. The state-owned operator MPT gave out mobile access only to the military and private subscribers who paid more than $1,000 USD bribe for a SIM card. All mobile communication equipment brought by visitors was confiscated at the border until recently as well.
The country has now opened up and these laws are no longer enforced, rocketing Myanmar from stone-age to cyber-age. Internet reliability issues still remind users that they're in one of the last frontiers, but improving in 2016-2017.
The previous situation was so desperate that the new civil government issued two new licences in 2013 to foreign companies to build GSM networks in the country, which meant the state-owned incumbent provider MPT got competition and lowered the prices to a fraction of the past. In 2014 Kuwait/Qatar-based Ooredoo and Norwegian Telenor launched their networks. Both newcomers had only coverage in Yangon (aka Rangoon), the new capital NayPyiTaw, Mandalay and a few areas in between for a start, but are rapidly growing from there.
Myanmar's internet user base has increased from 2 million in 2014 to more than 39 million in mid-2016. The number of SIM cards in circulation has also increased by almost 400% in this period. This figure now represents a mobile penetration of 90% of the country's population.
At the beginning of 2014 MPT had 42% market share, to be followed by Telenor with 25% and Ooredoo with 13%.
Networks, Coverage, Speed Edit
Myanmar has been known for erratic and sometimes painfully slow internet access. This was true to WiFi as well as to all three mobile operators, especially in rural areas. Both of the newcomers sold millions of SIM cards each in only a few months. SIM cards were in such high demand in 2014 that black-market prices skyrocketed, though now being sold on every street corner with competitive prices. From 2014-18 the three major operators signed more that 50 million customers together.
MPT lowered prices, but has sometimes still unreliable and slow internet access. It gives the best coverage throughout the country on 2G 900 MHz and 3G 2100 MHz and simultaneously on an incompatible CDMA network. Ooredoo only builts up a 3G network mostly on 900 MHz with no fall back to 2G. Telenor is said to be the most reliable for data where it has coverage on 2G 900 MHz and especially on 3G 2100 MHz. A fourth license to Vietnam-backed Vietel Group was given out recently, but they haven’t started yet.
4G/LTE has started by all providers in parts of Mandalay, Yangon and the capital Naypyidaw in 2016 using existing 2100 MHz (B1) bands. The regulator auctioned more spectrum on 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3 and 7) in 2016/7 to be used for 4G/LTE. In 2018 the launch of two 4G/LTE-only networks by Mytel and Anada has been started in select cities like Yangoon only.
SIM cards are sold everywhere. Only in the official shops of the providers you need to show your passport and visa (stamp), on the street nobody asks for it.
Mobile phone users will have to register their SIM cards starting in April 2017 according to the country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications. To register, a customer will be required to provide his name, address, date of birth, nationality and gender, with either their national registration card (NRC), driving licence, passport or student card as proof of identity. The Ministry also said that, starting 31 March 2017, all unregistered SIM cards in Myanmar will be blocked.
As the data stream is unreliable, it can be hard to place VoIP calls, even on WiFi. International IDD calls are charged high at around €/$ 1 per min which is a multiple of the prices in neighbouring Thailand.
All providers need to register SIM cards by March 2017. This is done without verification so far by app or online. All rates are subject to an additional 5% commercial tax starting April 1, 2016. In the prices of Ooredoo and Telenor it's included, with MPT it's not.
The state owned provider MPT (for Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications) has ruined its reputation in the past when it charged exorbitantly high fees for mobile access, voice and data. They had a monopoly under the military regime when they used to give out access only to the elite, privileged foreigners and the military power circle. They have lowered prices significantly. Back in 2013, they charged US$ 200 for a SIM card with data; only two years later it was just US$1.50. This alienated a lot of people who started to shun MPT, even if it’s still the only choice in many areas of Myanmar.
Still, it has the best coverage in the countryside. At the beginning of 2016 it reached 90% of population with its 3G network. The company made a remarkable turnaround and got awarded by Ookla's speed test as fastest mobile network in 2016, and is starting to deploy 4G/LTE (see below). At the end of 2016 it was leading the market with 43%.
MPT has officially launched its 4G/LTE service in May 2017 in Yangon, Naypyidaw and Mandalay on 1800 MHz (Band 3). It's available for prepaid users at these locations with 4G compatible devices and SIM cards. With their 4x4 MIMO technology, it means that there will be signal boost for all LTE compatible phone along with 4x4 MIMO built in phones, which will result in a traffic boost. MPT users with older non-compatible SIM cards may swap them for new 4G-ready ones, while retaining their current numbers, at any MPT branded stores in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw for no additional charge.
Their SIM card is sold at many places where you see their logo even if they are not as visible as Ooredoo or Telenor. There is a big outlet in the arrivals hall of Yangon International airport. Since January 2015, they charge 1,500 kyats for the starter pack with 500 kyats credit. Every prepaid user who makes a first recharge of 1000 Kyatsand above within the first 7 days of activation will receive 1000 Ks as bonus.
To activate your SIM card, you need to put it into your phone, turn on your phone and make a call, or top-up your balance using one of their top-up cards. You will receive an SMS confirming your SIM card activation and informing you about your phone number.
Top-up cards als e-top-ups or scratch cards are available in following denominations: 1,000 Ks, 3,000 Ks, 5,000 Ks, 10,000 Ks, 20,000 Ks, 30,000 Ks. In 2016 MPT revised its balance validity scheme: customers who top up their mobile accounts will now have their balance validity automatically increased to one year.
On MPT you have the choice of four different base plans, the main difference being the costs of calls and SMS. See here for details.
- Swe Tahar: change to by *234*2#, fast data, 7 Ks per MB,
- Shal Pyaw: change to by *234*3#, fast data, 8 Ks per MB,
- Shwe Zagar: change to by *234*4#, fast data, 8 Ks per MB.
Data featured packages Edit
They offer a daily pack with 150 MB for 24 hours at 299 Ks., activation:: *2001#
These packages for 30 days are offered to all three plans. The remaining unused pack balance will be added to the next purchase, if you buy within 7 days after the pack expires. You can dial *777# for a menu of currently available monthly data pack options or use the short codes below:
|400 MB||699 Ks||*777*1#|
|900 MB||899 Ks||*777*3#|
|1,5 GB||1,499 Ks||*777*4#|
|2.5 GB||2,499 Ks||*777*5#|
|3.5 GB||3,499 Ks||*777*6#|
|7 GB||6,999 Ks||*777*7#|
|15 GB||14,999 Ks||*777*8#|
|25 GB||24,999 Ks||*777*9#|
For more data you can also add a "colourful data pack" .without carry-on with 260 MB for 399 Ks by *2001#. These social packs are offered and include Facebook, Line and Viber, but no VoIP use:
- daily: 190 MB, 199 Ks, activation: *3001#
- weekly: 950 MB, 999 Ks, activation: *3002#
- monthly: 2.85 GB, 2999 Ks, activation: *3003#
Finally, these packages for nighttime use (11pm-7am) are given out:
- 150 MB in 1 night: 169 Ks, activation: *237*1#
- 800 MB for 7 nights: 899 Ks, activation: *237*2#
- 3.200 GB for 30 nights: 3499 Ks, activation: *237*3#
You can see a list of all packages (daily, monthly, social, etc.), as well as other options like changing language, by dialing *106# and navigating the menus.
To check balances for all packages, text BAL to 1331 or use USSD *224# for which you will get separate SMS messages of your balance, bonus balance, data balance. All taxes are included in the prices above.
Asia roaming Edit
For roaming in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, China,Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau they offer two different options:
- a 800 MB package valid for 7 days at 10.000 Ks (tax incl.), activation: *8007#
- roam like at home for 7 days with a 900 Ks add-on discounting data rates to 9 Ks per MB, activation: *9007#
Tourist SIM Edit
For tourists visiting Myanmar they sell a special SIM only at the MPT Shop in Yangon International Airport in both terminals. You pay 10,000 Ks. for the starter and get 1.5 GB data and 5,000 Ks. credit valid for 10 days. Data over the package is billed at the rate of 6 Ks. per MB. Compared to their regular SIM cards, this is not such a good deal.
More info Edit
- APN: mptnet
- Website in English: http://www.mpt.com.mm/en
Telenor ended up 2nd in the race with Ooreedoo: they launched their network in 2014 in Mandalay and Yangon only. In 2015 it covered 15 provinces: Mandalay, Yangon, Sagaing, Bago, Magway, Ayeyarwaddy, Kayin, Mon, Kachin, Shan, Kayah, Nay Pyi Taw and Tanintharyi making it the biggest 3G network in the country.
Their coverage are the green and blue areas together: Current coverage map. These are 50% of the populated area of Myanmar and wider than Ooredoo.
They are rapidly building up a network, have already surpassed Ooredoo in coverage and want to cover 80% of Myanmar by the end of the decade. They are so successful right now that their network is already congested in downtown Yangon and Mandalay, but it is still said to be the most reliable choice for data in these areas. Unlike Ooredoo Telenor builds a “classical” network with 2G and 3G. At the end of 2016 Telenor ended up second in the country with a share of 37%.
4G/LTE has started in the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Myawady and Muse and is being commercially launched in 2016 on the rather unusual frequency band of 2100 MHz (band 1). In 2017 it has spread to 27 cities so far. By the end of 2018 about 75% of population are covered by Telenor's 4G network.
Their SIM cards are available literally on every street corner where they have coverage (and sometimes even beyond). Just look for their sign. At the international airport of Yangon, there is a sales outlet right at the luggage claim area squeezed in between the money changers before passing customs. They are sold everywhere for 1,500 kyats starter price with 500 kyats bonus. So you need to top-up soon. Mini and micro SIMs are available everywhere, nano SIMs are rare and best found in their own stores and at the airport stall. They may offer different base plans that don't make a difference for data.
Reload vouchers are sold for 1000, 3000, 5000 and 10000 kyats. For the first reload only, they give a bonus of 30 MB for 3000 ks, 60 MB for 5000 ks and 120 MB for 10000 ks.
To activate, you must place a first call, which doesn’t need to be answered. By default you are only on 2G up to EDGE speed for data. To activate 3G data, text “SMART” to 500.
Data feature packages Edit
Data is 10 kyats per MB by default. These mo:thly data packages called New Data Suboo Plans are offered for 30 days with data roll-over, if you renew the plan.
|565 MB||899 Ks||*979*2*2*1#|
|700 MB||799 Ks||*979*2*2*2#|
|920 MB||999 Ks||*979*2*2*3#|
|1.5 GB||1,499 Ks||*979*2*2*4#|
|2.5 GB||2,499 Ks||*979*2*2*5#|
|4 GB||3,999 Ks||*979*2*2*6#|
|6 GB||5,999 Ks||*979*2*2*7#|
|15.5 GB||14,999 Ks||*979*2*2*8#|
5% taxes are already included. Check balance by *124# and data balance by *9124#. Packages can be activated multiple times. The remaining unused pack balance will be added to the next purchase, if you buy within 7 days after the pack expiry.
They also offer two night packs to be used 11pm-7am:
- 760 MB for 7 days: 799 Ks, activation: *804#
- 950 MB for 30 days: 1000 Ks, activation: *805#
Data check is through *124*1#
Telenor currently offers very attractive roaming options for SE Asia:
- "Unlimited" data package for Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. For 3 days the charge is 899 Ks, activation is *979*2*5*6#, "unlimited" includes a FUP of 1 GB per day and 3 GB for 3 days, beyond throttled to 512 kbps.
- "Roam like home" in 6 SE Asian countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia). If you dial *979*2*5*2#, the data rate in these countries is reduced to 9 Ks per MB for 7 days.
Tourist SIM Edit
Since 2015 they sell Tourist SIMs: For a sales price of 15,000 kyats, visitors get 5 GB data and 50 local mins to all networks for 14 days.
It's available in only a few tourist oriented locations: it was launched in Yangon International Airport in 2016 and is now available at their counters in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw airports too.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website in English: http://www.telenor.com.mm
Ooredoo was first in the race to revolutionize the mobile phone system of Myanmar. It started its network in August 2014 in Yangon, Naypyitaw and Mandalay. Even they were first, they have fallen behind Telenor to the 3rd position, but are available in other areas like the Mon state: 3G and 4G coverage map.
Ooredoo only started up a 3G network on 900 MHz mostly. So you need to have a device working on this frequency in 3G. There is no 2G fallback. This different approach gave them an edge ahead in time. But simply skipping 2G and starting on 3G may prove to be not such a great idea. This is a country where the majority subsists on US$ 100 per month and uses mobile phones for voice mostly.
In 2016 they started 4G/LTE as first provider in the country using 1800 and 2100 MHz in parts of Yangon, Mandalay and the capital NayPyiTaw: 4G coverage list. In 2017 its 3G covered 85% of population and 4G/LTE almost 5 million people across Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Bagan and Magwe. Nevertheless, it has fallen back to 3rd place with a 18% market share.
You can’t miss their shops and sales outlets. Where you see their logo, you will probably have coverage. Their prepaid starter pack is sold at every street corner, together with their two competitors. Like them, they are sold for 1,500 kyats. Ooredoo gives a 10 MB bonus.
So you need to top-up right away. Top-up values from 500 kyats to 50,000 kyats are available.
Data feature packages Edit
Data is activated on 3G/4G by default on Ooredoo and charged at 8 Ks per MB. They offer these packages:
These monthly packages with a dedicated Facebook allowance are offered with data roll-over, if you buy a new pack witihn 7 days of expiry of the old:
|450 MB||50 MB||699 Ks|
|700 MB||100 MB||799 Ks|
|900 MB||124 MB||999 ks|
|1 GB||500 MB||1,499 Ks|
|1.5 GB||500 MB||1,999 Ks|
|2.5 GB||500 MB||2,999 Ks|
|4.5 GB||500 MB||4,999 Ks|
|9 GB||1 GB||9,999 Ks|
|18 GB||2 GB||19,999 Ks|
|36 GB||4 GB||39,999 Ks|
5% tax is already included in prices. For activation type *442# and choose package. To check balances *124#.
They will send you an SMS to notify you when your pack expires or has been fully used. Your pack won't be automatically renewed. If you do not purchase a new pack when your current pack expires or has been fully used but you continue to access the internet, they will charge you for internet the standard data charges. If you buy an a new pack before the old expires, unused data will roll over.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website in English: http://www.ooredoo.com.mm/
MyTel is a joint venture between Viettel run by the Vietnamese army and Myanmar National Tele & Communications (MNTC), a consortium of 11 local firms. They have begun to operate under the MyTel brand and launched a 2G and 4G-only network in 2018, leapfrogging 3G. 4G/LTE is on the rather unusual frequencies of 900 and 2100 MHz (bands 1 and 8).
The new operator has rolled out a total of 5,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) so far, covering 90% of the population, and supported by 30,000 km of fibre-optic cabling. The deployment is expected to cost around US$ 2 billion, of which Viettel will stump up 49%. Viettel also noted that it's planning to apply domestic charges for users roaming between Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos.
Mytel already switched on its LTE network in areas of Nay Pyi Taw, East Bago and Kayin State and began selling first SIM cards in March 2018. They plan to expand services to all 15 states and regions within the next months.
For MyTel be sure that your device covers LTE bands 1 and 8 and for voice calls is VoLTE-enabled.
Their new SIM cards start at 1,500 Ks (they were not allowed to give them out for free) in their stores and sales points (locator). They include an activation bonus of 500 MB + 50 min on-net at the beginning of each month for 3 months.
For top-ups with vouchers a bonus of 100% is applied - thus the value is doubled. But it applies only to voice and SMS and the data standard rate for 5 days, not to data packages.
Data feature packages Edit
Their default rate without package activated is 5 Ks per MB on their only plan so far available called Mite Tal. For all final prices add 5% taxes. These packs are available:
|111 MB||24 hours||111 Ks.||*966*11#|
|300 MB||24 hours||299 Ks.||*966*41#|
|1 GB||7 days||955 Ks||*966*42#|
|900 MB||30 days||866 Ks.||*966*12#|
|3 GB||30 days||2,888 Ks.||*966*43#|
|5 GB||30 days||4,999 Ks.||*966*37#|
|10 GB||30 days||9,999 Ks.||*966*38#|
SE Asian roaming Edit
For discounted roaming in Bangladesh, China, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand they offer a roam like at home pack for 966 Ks. giving roaming data at reduced 8 Ks. per MB for a week. Activation is by *966*5*4#
More info Edit
- APN: mytel
- Website in English: http://mytel.com.mm
In May 2018 local Internet service provider Ananda launched 4G service in Myanmar. It's confined to 4G/LTE only and Band 38 in TDD-LTE (2600 MHz) in the city of Yangoon: Coverage Map. It caters more to stationary use in the town, than to mobile users and few handsets cover their band.
Right after the launch, the 4G/LTE provider has been hammered by angry customers complaining about performance issue. Network capacity is not an excuse as there is no way Ananda gained enough subscribers in a few days to saturate its whole network. The main reason evoked by customers is coverage. Ananda suffers of a lot of weak spots all over Yangon where it can barely be used indoor.
Before buying their SIM card be sure to have coverage. Their SIM is sold in their shops (locator) for 1,500 Ks. including 2 GB for 30 days or as data SIM for 8,000 Ks with 25 GB for 30 days.
To top-up you need to buy a top-up card in one of their stores or partners, or online by credit card via their app or website. Check balance by app.
Data feature packages Edit
They offer unlimited and limited plans. Their "unlimited" plans are governed by a FUP.
- "unlimited" for 7 days: 10,000 Ks. - FUP: 50 GB
- "unlimited" for 30 days: 35,000 Ks. - FUP: 300 GB
- "unlimited" for 90 days: 70,000 Ks. - FUP: 900 GB
- 5 GB for 30 days: 2,500 Ks.
- 15 GB for 30 days: 5,000 Ks.
- 35 GB for 30 days: 10,000 Ks.
- 100 GB for 30 days: 20,000 Ks.
You can add 10 GB for 5,000 Ks., 25 GB for 10,000 Ks., 50 GB for 20,000 Ks. and 100 GB for 35,000 Ks.
More info Edit
- APN: anada
- Website in English: https://ananda.com.mm/
GlobalNet (operational from 2018, 4G/TD-LTE only) Edit
Myanmar-owned provider Global Technology Company (GlobalNet) has announced plans to launch LTE-based wireless broadband services in 30 cities from 2018. The offering will be made available to both business and residential subscribers from launch, with the rollout set to target major cities across Nay Pyi Taw, Magway, Bago, Mon, Jayin and Tanintharyi.
GlobalNet won a 20 MHz block of TDD spectrum in the 2600 MHz range (band 38) in 2016, covering Region 1 (comprising the states of Nay Pyi Taw, Magway, Bago, Mon, Jayin and Tanintharyi). The operator also already provides fibre-to-the-home services in Yangon, Mandalay and Bago under the '5BB' brand.
- more info on Website: http://www.globalnet.com.mm