Myanmar, one of the last remaining untapped mobile phone markets, on Thursday awarded telecom licences to Norway's Telenor and Qatari firm Ooredoo.

India's Bharti Airtel along with nine other players were also in the fray for the licences.

"Telenor Mobile Communications and Ooredoo have been selected as the two successful applicants in the Nationwide Telecommunications Licence Award Process", the Myanmar government said in a statement.

It added that a consortium consisting of France Telecom-Orange and Marubeni Corporation was named the backup applicant in case one of the two successful applicants does not fulfil the post-selection requirements contained in the Invitation to Tender.

The Myanmar Government had in late 2012 established an independent committee to conduct an objective and transparent process for selection of two telecom operators. The Committee’s invitation to submit Expressions of Interest (EOIs) saw application from 91 entities, and 12 from those, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, SingTel, Telecom-Orange and Marubeni Corporation were shortlisted.

This was the first time Myanmar opened up the sector for private investments with the aim to increase the overall teledensity of the country to 75-80 per cent by 2015-2016.

In a separate statement, Telenor said in accordance with the described process, Telenor Group will now enter into final discussions with the Myanmar authorities, with the aim of acquiring a telecommunications licence over the coming months.

Additionally, the company will build a state-of-the-art mobile network using HSPA and LTE-ready technologies for Myanmar and plans to achieve nationwide coverage within five years.

"A full range of mobile services, both voice and data, will be commercially launched as the initial offering, anticipated to happen in 2014. The introduction of telecommunication services in Myanmar will drive social development and economic growth for the country", it said.

More In: Industry | Business