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A country-wide mobile phone network for Myanmar

Investing in telecommunications can provide important impetus for development in rural areas. Thanks to mobile communications, people in remote areas can not only make phone calls, but also check the latest market prices for agricultural products and weather forecasts online. The use of mobile phones also enables cash-free payments to be made far from the nearest bank.

In 2014, only 14 percent of the population in Myanmar had access to mobile telephone services; this figure has now already risen to over 50 percent. To ensure that the mobile phone network is even more available nationally in the future, the necessary infrastructure is currently being set up and expanded – also supported by private operators. Irrawaddy Green Towers Ltd. (IGT) specialises in building and operating transmission masts. It set up a network of 2,900 mobile phone masts in Myanmar. The company plans to set up and operate further masts by the end of 2018, providing coverage to approximately 26 million people. IGT has created more than 320 jobs since it was founded in 2014; more than 1,000 jobs have additionally been created through building and operating the transmission masts. The company is conducting numerous training and qualifying programmes for its staff, and in doing so is making a contribution to the important transfer of technical and business knowledge.

In 2015, DEG extended a long-term loan amounting to approx. USD 20 million to IGT and in 2016 a second loan amounting to USD 12 million for building and operating the mobile phone transmission masts. The loans are part of three lending facilities with a volume totalling USD 277 million. Other lenders include different development finance institutions, such as FMO, CDC Group, PROPARCO, OeEB and BIO.

An asiatic woman using a smart phone.