O'Brien consortium submits its bid in Burma's mobile-licence race
A CONSORTIUM that includes businessman Denis O'Brien's Digicel telecoms group will today submit a formal bid to secure a prized mobile operator licence in Burma.
The country – also known as Myanmar – has been courting telecoms firms from around the world interested in two national licences. It's the first time the newly democratic country, emerging from decades of military rule, has offered such licences.
Burma's low mobile phone penetration rate combined with a population of 62 million makes it an attractive growth opportunity for telecoms firms.
Digicel group has teamed up with George Soros's Quantum Strategic Partners and Myanmar's Yoma Strategic Holdings, which is headed by Serge Pun, as it tries to secure a licence.
The consortium was one of 12 groups that pre-qualified in April for the licence bids.
Last week, a consortium composed of Vodafone and China Mobile pulled out of the race.
"The opportunity does not meet the strict investment criteria to which both Vodafone and China Mobile adhere," the pair said in a statement.
The winners are due to be announced by June 27.
Digicel has already embarked on a marketing campaign in Burma, as it anticipates securing a foothold.
Digicel has operations across the Caribbean and Pacific region, having become a major telecoms player in just over a decade. It has also made a fortune for Mr O'Brien, who was recently ranked by 'Forbes' magazine as one of the world's richest people.