Jurisdiction - Myanmar
Latest Reports And Analysis From Myanmar
Herbert Smith Freehills

26 January, 2013

 
Legal News & AnalysisAsia PacificMyanmar

 
Myanmar – Latest draft Telecoms Bill published
 
The latest draft bill of a new telecommunications law for Myanmar (the “Draft Telecoms Bill“) was recently published after many years of revisions. It is drawn up to replace two current laws dating back to 1885 and 1934 and is projected to be issued by the first half of 2013. 
 
Salient features of the Draft Telecoms Bill include:
 

  • Foreign investment in the telecoms sector: consistent with recently passed new foreign investment laws, foreign investors may hold a licence subject to government approval and conditions;

 

  • Telecoms licences: there will be 2 broad categories of licences for telecoms services and telecoms equipment respectively. Licence terms may vary but are subject to a maximum of 20 years (or longer upon grant of a renewal);

  • Powers of relevant government bodies: the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs (“MCPT“), in particular the Post and Telecommunications Department (“PTD“) under MCPT, will be given powers to scrutinise and approve a wide range of activities, including licence applications, import and distribution of specified equipment, tariffs, access and interconnection arrangements, co-operation/joint venture arrangements with licensees for the sharing of network facilities, etc. The PTD will also have interception, inspection and supervision rights;

  • Anti-competitive conduct prohibitions: anti-competitive conduct and arrangements are prohibited; and

  • Offences: a range of offences relating to national security, operating without a licence, not using prescribed international gateways, etc. have been included. The offenders may be liable to imprisonment of up to 7 years in most cases and fines.

 
However, there are areas that the Draft Telecoms Bill has yet to address, including:
 

  • Transitional arrangements: licences issued under existing telecommunications law will continue to be valid but there is no provision dealing with existing licence terms in conflict with the Draft Telecoms Bill;

 

  • Foreign ownership: the Draft Telecoms Bill does not specifically reserve any licences for local Myanmar companies but foreign ownership may be subject to foreign ownership restrictions under other regulations; and

  • Licensing categories: it is unclear on what content and applications require a licence.

 
On 15 January 2013, the Myanmar government released an invitation to submit an expression of interest for 2 nationwide telecommunications service licences. The licences will be technology neutral and are expected to be awarded by the end of the first half of 2013 via a comparative evaluation process. The initial licence term will range between 10 to 20 years with the possibility of renewal. The new licensees and the existing licensees are also expected to enter into infrastructure and facilities sharing arrangements.

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

 

 

For further information, please contact:
 
Michelle Chan, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills

michelle.chan@hsf.com
 
Clarice Yue, Herbert Smith Freehills
clarice.yue@hsf.com
 
Mark Robinson, Herbert Smith Freehills 
mark.robinson@hsf.com

 

 

 

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