April 5, 2013 / 3:02 PM / 4 years ago

Millicom joins race for Myanmar mobile licence

A couple uses a mobile phone on the side of a street in Yangon, March 7, 2013.Soe Zeya Tun /Files

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish-based mobile operator Millicom(MICsdb.ST) said on Friday it had joined bigger rivals including China Mobile (0941.HK) in applying for a licence in Myanmar, hoping to get a share of a largely untapped market.

Millicom has operations in Latin America and Africa, having pulled out of Asia in 2009.

Two 15-year licences being tendered by Myanmar's authorities have attracted wide interest from telecoms firms, which see huge growth opportunities in a country of 60 million where the mobile penetration rate is around 5-10 percent, compared to rates of over 100 percent in many developed markets.

"We are an applicant," a spokesman for Millicom said.

China Mobile has teamed up with Vodafone(VOD.L) and a group backed by George Soros has also entered the race to secure a licence.

Africa's largest mobile phone company, MTN(MTNJ.J), India's top mobile operator Bharti Airtel(BRTI.NS) and Singapore's SingTel (STEL.SI) have expressed an interest.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer

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