February 21, 2018
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Vodafone, China Mobile pull out of telecoms race

As 11 telecoms companies rushed to complete their final bids before the Myanmar government’s deadline of June 3, the 12th shortlisted consortium announced it had withdrawn from the race.

Vodafone and China Mobile formed a consortium to bid for one of two mobile network licenses being offered to international companies in early-April, but in an unexpected turnaround pulled out on Friday, citing commercial reasons.

In a joint statement, the companies stated that the commitment doesn’t meet the companies’ “strict internal investment criteria”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report on May 20 warning that telecoms companies risked being linked to human rights abuses as Myanmar has yet to implement adequate legislation in the telecoms sector.

“Telecom companies that rush into Burma [Myanmar] before rights protections are in place risk complicity in illegal surveillance, censorship, and other repression,” said Cynthia Wong, senior Internet and human rights researcher at HRW.

“Telecom firms should press Burma’s government to bring its telecommunications laws into compliance with international rights standards,” she said.

The Myanmar government expects to announce the winners of the tenders on June 27.

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