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Access and Openness: Myanmar 2012

| By: Dan Blah

Download the full report here.

A technology delegation visited Yangon and Naypyidaw, Myanmar in December 2012. A multitude of information was collected from a variety of sources, offering insight into Myanmar’s telecommunications landscape resulting in this report.

Exposed by this research is the country’s present critical juncture: will Myanmar continue its historical trend of isolation and oppression or grasp hold of new opportunities for technological advancement and incubate its budding free expression culture?

This report hopes to provide important, often inaccessible, information to Myanmar’s citizens and the international community concerned with the country’s future. While it is expected that the most interested audience is technical, the report aims to provide relevant baseline information for policy makers, civil society, and international investors.

Recommendations from the report

  • International economic development programs should be tied to concrete and measurable ICT progress that advances freedom of expression in Myanmar.
  • Domestic and international technologists should seek careful partnerships with Myanmar civil society groups.
  • The Myanmar government should capitalize on ICT as an area ripe for investment.
  • Diplomatic initiatives in Myanmar should target ICT infrastructure development.
  • Private ICT investors should proceed with caution under the current regulatory climate and pursue investments that foster both capital and social gains.

Key items inside the report

  • 6.7 percent of Myanmar’s population has landline and wireless Internet capable subscriptions.
  • Only 5.1 percent of the country’s 60 million inhabitants, or 3.06 million, have mobile service.
  • 95 percent of voice calls and text messages in Myanmar are completely unencrypted.
  • The cost of acquiring and activating an average smartphone is $563.
  • Huawei is the most popular smartphone brand, second is Samsung, followed by imitation iPhones. Android dominates as a smartphone operating system.
  • Internet penetration is less than 1% and mobile subscription is approximately 2%, or 1.24 million subscriptions.
  • Myanmar has 3 ISPs: MPT (100 percent government held), Yatanarpon Teleport (51 percent government held, 49 percent privately held), and Red-link Group, owned by family members of government leaders.
  • Blue Coat equipment is found used in part for deep packet inspection (DPI). Cisco and Huawei equipment were also present.

In the press

Google’s Schmidt to Visit Myanmar, Wall Street Journal March 14, 2013

Google Exec Urges Myanmar to Embrace Free Speech, Associated Press, March 22, 2013

Google Launches Search Engine in Myanmar as Schmidt Warns Against Web Censorship, Tech in Asia, March 22, 2013

Projects Mentioned

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