Vodafone and China Mobile Limited have jointly announced an agreement to form a consortium to bid for a mobile telecommunications licence in Burma. Two companies have been working together since 2000.
The Burmese government is presently seeking to increase the number of mobile operators in the country from two to four. Vodafone highlights that a move into Burma would help to promote social and economic development through greater availability of mobile telecoms as it is has done elsewhere internationally.
Hopes are that an application for a license (which has already been submitted) would see the consortium operate a mobile network on a nationwide basis for an initial term of 15 years.
This discussion with economists William Easterly and Dambisa Moyo suggests that mobile telephones may be better for developing countries than aid: