Linklaters and Allens have advised a KDDI-Sumitomo consortium on a tie-up with Myanmar’s Myanma Posts & Telecommunications (MPT) to develop and operate fixed and mobile phone networks in Myanmar. MPT was advised on the deal by Squire Patton Boggs.

The partnership between the Japanese firms and the state-owned agency will involve investing $2 billion over the next decade to expand telecommunications services in one of the world’s least-connected countries, where only 10 percent of the 65-million population use mobile phones.

Linklaters was led by corporate partners Stuart Bedford and Savi Hebbur, while Allens was led by Niranjan Arasaratnam, head of the firm’s technology, media and telecommunication group.

“This transaction represents one of the most significant international investments made in Myanmar to date, and the future success of the joint operations is critical to enable Myanmar’s rapid economic growth to continue,” said Bedford in a statement.

Japanese wireless carrier KDDI, and trading house Sumitomo, will spend on telecoms infrastructure and jointly operate mobile and broadband services with MPT –  currently the sole telecoms operator, and the industry regulator in Myanmar, according to Reuters.

Earnings from the Myanmar operation will be split roughly equally between the consortium – based in Singapore, and the Myanmar agency. “We’ll be able to reach profitability in a short period of time,” Yuzo Ishikawa, senior vice-president of KDDI, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The alliance will face competition from Norway’s Telenor ASA and Qatar’s Ooredoo QSC, that won a tight bidding contest in 2013, and are now building their telecom networks in Myanmar. State-backed Yatanarpon, which has been primarily an Internet service provider till now, also holds a telecom licence.

The government plans to create a new regulator for the telecoms industry by 2015.


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