Myanmar invites partners to help liberalize state-controlled telecommunications sector

Myanmar's government has taken a first step toward liberalizing its state-dominated telecommunications sector by inviting investment proposals from local and foreign companies for nationwide telecommunications services including telephone and internet connectivity.

An announcement published Wednesday in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said expressions of interests should be submitted no later than Jan. 25 and that two companies will be awarded licenses.

The move comes amid a raft of political and economic reforms instituted by the elected government of President Thein Sein to jumpstart the country's development after almost five decades of repressive military rule that left Myanmar one of the poorest nations in Asia.

There are also plans to transform the state Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications Department into an independent entity to be called Myanmar Telecoms.