Thursday, 3 July 2014

Govt to officialise importing mobile phones

Myanmar is importing about 10 million mobile handsets every year but only about 20,000 of them are imported officially, according to Minister for Commerce.

The government is currently making the necessary requirements to encourage importing more handsets officially and to combat illegal imports from countries like China and Thailand. 

“Illegal imports are about 98 or 99 percent. When I think a way to deal with that situation, I found a solution which is the best to organise mobile phone dealer association. I am already in discussion with Ministers for Telecommunication and Finance,” said Minister for Commerce Win Myint.

Although handsets are allowed to be imported legally, only about 150,000 handsets are imported over one and a half years. At border trade centres, the import of handsets is much worse and only 182 handsets apply for a license.

Police have seized 9,370 illegal handsets worth of about Ks 214 million in a seven month period. Most illegal import come through ports and border gates, according to police sources.

“The officers laugh when they heard about the import of 182 handsets in border trade centres in fifteen months. We can easily check the import of 150,000 handsets in one or two of mobile shops in Lathar Street. I have already submitted the government to ask for permission to check like that,” said Director Tin Ye Win in a meeting to control illegal trade.

Myanmar has the lowest mobile usage in the whole Asean region. The entrance of Ooredoo and Telenor as private telecom providers should see the market grow as more people are able to afford mobile services.

source: Eleven Myanmar
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