Myanmar Connect: Agenda
Myanmar Connect 2019
17-18 September 2019 | Myanmar Yangon
Registration & Networking Breakfast
Capacity Media Welcome
State of Telecommunication: An Update from the Operators
The last five years have seen unprecedented growth and progress in Myanmar’s telecoms sector, bringing the country up to par with many regional neighbours. Last year saw increased competition between mobile operators, heralding a new era for telecommunications in Myanmar. This panel discussion will explore how the next five years will pan out for key stakeholders. There are plenty of opportunities for innovation, such as Myanmar content, e-Governance, m-Finance, 5G etc., but there are also challenges for the ecosystem, notably global OTT players, limited awareness of cyber-threats and data privacy, low ARPUs, uncertainty over new digital taxes and regulatory developments, geopolitics between China and the US in terms of 5G infrastructure vendors, and so on. This panel discussion will consider the challenging journey towards a digital Myanmar and qualify critical success factors for industry developments in the next 5 years.
Coffee & Networking
Solar, So Good: Channeling the Sun to Power Communications
When over 50 million mobile subscribers are demanding internet access, the fundamentals of quality of service, optimal uptime and reliable power supply are essential to get right. The requirement for power to fuel this consumption is high and continues to grow, which raises concerns about environmental credentials. Challenges around access to tower sites are also causing network operators to adopt infrastructure sharing partnerships on a broader scale. Furthermore, the future requirement for power and fibre to cater to the impending use of 5G will catalyse the necessity of solar power in Myanmar. This panel will explore the optimisation of existing infrastructure through infrastructure sharing, the impact of market consolidation in the tower space, the strategy behind investment in solar, rather than battery-powered or hybrid energy sources and the challenges of an unregulated and de-centralised system of power generation.
Driving Data Centre Developments
Data centre construction in Myanmar has been challenging for many, due to power, connectivity and land leasing issues. In the last year some of the major players have seen international investment and re-located to Nay Pyi Taw, to provide localised data storage to the government to help drive the e-governance movement. Furthermore, there is a significant emergence of regional data centre operators expanding the edge solution into Myanmar and other South East Asian countries. Experts will discuss the challenges and opportunities in supporting the growing necessity for data centre facilities in Myanmar.
Investing in International Connectivity
Given that local content is currently limited in Myanmar, connectivity and infrastructure with the surrounding countries is essential. The Belt and Road initiative has brought significant investment in infrastructure to the country. This panel discussion will explore where international investment in connectivity solutions is coming from, challenges in connecting to other countries terrestrially or via subsea cables and how international players can be encouraged to invest in infrastructure to develop the telecommunications provision available in the Golden Land.
Coffee & Networking
Restructuring Myanmar's Infrastructure to Promote Broadband Penetration
The Yangon Government has initiated a process to restructure the city’s telecoms infrastructure (especially fibre networks) and encourage democratic infrastructure sharing, with a view to supporting 5G. They have categorised infrastructure as underground, overhead poles and last mile/ telecom poles and have openly consulted with companies in preparation for contract bidding. Different stakeholders have varied motivations to join the draft specification and the rules of engagement are unclear. This session will unpack how infrastructure rollout, including FTTx and 5G-ready networks is progressing, how the Posts & Telecommunications Department might enforce a more consolidated approach to infrastructure, whether individual stakeholders will co-operate to make this initiative possible and turn it to a competitive advantage and whether the Ministry of Transport & Communications might ultimately follow the example of Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission in enforced embedding of all fibre infrastructure underground. Besides, with elections to be held next year, the jury is still out whether this process will be actioned before Ministers’ attention is directed elsewhere.
Myanmar Connect Evening Reception
Funny Money: Protecting Consumers & Progress in Financial Inclusion
The mobile financial services sector has progressed by leaps and bounds, with impressive transaction figures announced by Wave Money, different operating models for consumers vs. businesses and exciting new developments in interoperability between mobile money channels. However, the industry has also been fraught with uncertainty, following Red Dot's sudden closure and resulting in mistrust amongst existing and potential mobile money converts with regards to the security of deposited funds. Lack of regulation leaves consumers exposed to risk of losing their money without any protection, throwing the promise of mobile financial services into question. This session will unite the MFS community to seek solutions to help change consumer behaviour and secure the success of financial inclusion initiatives.
Coffee & Networking
Content is King; Cloud is Coming
With major content players, such as Tencent and Alibaba establishing a footprint in Myanmar, the content available to consumers is diversifying and data usage is increasing accordingly. Last year, Viu Myanmar launched the only OTT service offering international content with 100% Myanmar subtitles, however, although Myanmar-based streaming is increasingly popular, production is still limited. The panellists will discuss the tension between broadband and mobile connectivity, the importance of content to the evolution of telecoms service provision, how bundling services together can reduce consumer churn, as well as the increasing usage of cloud services and CDNs.
One Script, Endless Possibilities
Coding text with Unicode allows the text to be translated into all international scripts, except in Myanmar, where Zawgyi is used to encode Burmese text. This makes it almost impossible to translate the Burmese language on the Internet. The Zawgyi/ Unicode dichotomy has had a significant impact on wide-ranging aspects of Internet usage in Myanmar, from data security and policing hate speech to simply being able to read a news article online. As of the 1st October, Unicode adoption will be enforced, a fundamental step to making more varied benefits of the Internet and information sources available to Myanmar citizens. This panel will assess what role different stakeholders can play in supporting the transition from Zawgyi to Unicode across the whole ecosystem.
Coffee & Networking
We hear a lot about digital inclusion, financial inclusion and social inclusion in Myanmar. This workshop will bring together business leaders from different sectors within the telecommunications ecosystem to brainstorm and discuss how to reduce inequality of access, especially amongst the most marginalised in society, such as women, the disabled and ethnic minorities, to propose means to improve affordability of services and effectively integrate technology into people’s lives, as well as how to change consumer behaviours and emphasise the necessity of cyber-security and establishing standards for digital rights, in order to help push regulation forwards.