Ethnic conflict in Myanmar could handicap Qatari telco brand, say agency bosses

Ooredoo signing ceremony with communications and IT minister

Ooredoo signing ceremony

As news emerges that mobile network licences have been awarded to two companies in Myanmar after months of delays, local agency bosses have warned that one of the carriers could be at a disadvantage because of its country of origin.

Qatari telco Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor won an eagerly anticipated international tender to provide mobile infrastructure in the Southeast Asian country of 60 million people in June, but only today did the deal come into effect after months of legal wrangling over the regulatory framework.

However agency bosses, who wished to remain anonymous, told Mumbrella that the Ooredoo brand may be at a disadvantage because the company hails from Qatar, which has a predominantly Muslim population.

Myanmar is struggling with ethnic conflict between its Buddist majority and Muslim minority, with numerous media outlets having reported the persecution of Muslims by Buddhist nationalists in recent months.

One ad agency head suggested that Ooredoo would have to approach its marketing strategy with caution and present itself as “a local champion rather than a global provider”.

Telenor pitched its advertising account before Christmas, while a pitch for Ooredoo is currently underway. Both firms are to launch initial services in cities such as Yangon over the next six to eight months.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing