Vodafone Group plc and China Mobile Set to Monitor Myanmar's Progress From the Sidelines


LONDON: Shares in Vodafone slipped over 1% this morning, to 190.88 pence, as the telecoms Goliath announced that it is withdrawing from the process to award two telecommunications licences in Myanmar.

Back in early April, Vodafone revealed that it had teamed up with China Mobile to form a consortium to bid for a mobile telecommunications licence in Myanmar, formerly Burma.

However, despite the consortium being among 12 short-listed applicants due to submit their final bid to the Myanmar authorities on 3 June, both companies decided not to proceed with the process as "the opportunity does not meet the strict internal investment criteria to which both Vodafone and China Mobile adhere."

Myanmar currently has a GDP growth rate of 5.5% per year, a comparatively young and highly literate population of around 60 million, and its and mobile phone penetration is currently below 10%, which is much lower than many emerging countries. With Myanmar believed to be an important new market for the mobile industry, this morning's statement declared, "Vodafone and China Mobile will continue to watch Myanmar's progress with interest and will give due consideration to any future opportunities that would meet the companies' investment criteria."

Vodafone has been looking to expand its international presence in recent months to combat any losses in the struggling eurozone, while it has also taken steps to move into a one-stop shop" for consumers instead of its traditional mobile-only offering, recently partnering with Deutsche Telekom to provide German customers with TV services over high-speed broadband, and showing that it can compete on other fronts.

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> Sam owns shares in Vodafone but no other company mentioned here. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.

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