| TOKYO, July 16
TOKYO, July 16 Japan's KDDI Corp and
Sumitomo Corp, in partnership with Myanmar's
state-backed telecoms operator, plan to invest about $2 billion
over the next decade to expand service in one of the world's
No.2 Japanese wireless carrier KDDI and trading house
Sumitomo will invest in telecoms infrastructure and jointly
operate mobile and broadband services with Myanmar Posts and
MPT will split earnings from the Myanmar operations roughly
equally with a Singapore-based joint venture of the Japanese
firms that will be formed in August, Sumitomo Executive Vice
President Shinichi Sasaki told a news conference.
"We'll be able to reach profitability in a short period of
time," KDDI Senior Vice President Yuzo Ishikawa said.
In January, Sumitomo's deputy general manager in Myanmar,
Soe Kyu, told Reuters the companies were jointly invited to
exclusive talks about becoming the international partner of MPT.
MPT is currently Myanmar's sole telecoms operator as well as
the industry regulator. The government plans to create a new
regulator by 2015 and divest a minority share in MPT, which will
remain one of four licensed operators.
State-backed Yatanarpon, until now primarily an Internet
service provider, also holds a licence. Norway's Telenor ASA
and Qatar's Ooredoo QSC won hotly contested
bidding for two new licences in June 2013 and are now building
Myanmar's telecoms industry was tightly controlled under
decades of military dictatorship, with the government
monopolising the sector and selling SIM cards for thousands of
dollars when they were introduced a decade-and-a-half ago.
As a result, Myanmar had one of the world's lowest mobile
penetration rates. Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson said in 2012
that fewer than 4 percent of its 60 million people were
($1 = 101.7000 Japanese Yen)
(Editing by Edmund Klamann and Jane Baird)