Brought to you as a public service of the Open Spectrum Foundation (Stichting Open Spectrum), Amsterdam - Prague

openspectrum.info logo

MYANMAR (BURMA)

  • The 1933 "Wireless Telegraphy Act, Burma" (India Act 17/33) seems still to be in force as it was cited by Naing Lin of the Posts & Telecommunications Department in a 2003 presentation to the Asia Pacific Telecommunity. "This law which was amended on 22 October 1995 (Amendment Law No. 15/95), stipulates that whoever possesses any wireless telegraphy apparatus without a licence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or a fine which may extend to 30,000 kyats, or both." ---Report of Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Myanmar, United Nations General Assembly Document A/51/466 [1996]. Naing Lin's presentation also mentioned a "Communication Policy Supervisory Working Committee (CPSWC)" whose duties included approving all imports of telecom equipment including RF devices.
  • "IRIS ready to start e-Passport in Myanmar," The Star, 19 July 2002: "...'Myanmar will be the second country after Malaysia to use the [RFID-based] e-Passport which the Malaysian Immigration Department implemented in March 1998,' Tan said at a media briefing on the company's operations in Kuala Lumpur yesterday..."
  • "Due to current legislation, telecommunication equipment with coverage area less than 300 metres or 1000 feet is considered as blanket type..." ---"APT Recommendation on Spectrum for UHF RFID Devices" (February 2006). This quote is from Myanmar's entry in a table of RFID allocations appended to the Recommendation. The entry explained that sometime in 2007, Myanmar intends to allocate frequencies for RFID use near 927 MHz at powers of up to 200mW, without indicating if this use would be licensed or license-exempt.
  • "Myanmar to allow citizens to receive satellite TV," by Aung Hla Tun, Reuters, 14 September 2001 (via BurmaNet News): "Myanmar's military government said on Friday it would issue licences for all satellite television receivers... Myanmar has not issued any licences since 1993, and only around 2,000 satellite dishes, mainly belonging to hotels and government offices, have licenses. But tens of thousands of Myanmar citizens have installed unlicensed receivers..."

  • "Communications statistics" and "Radio, television, video and home satellite receiver licence issued and revenue realized" - in Excel format from the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
  • "Myanmar orders massive hike in satellite TV fees," Thomas Financial (via Forbes.com), 2 January 2008: "Authorities in Myanmar have ordered a massive hike in the fee for satellite TV licenses, an official said Wednesday, in what residents said appeared to be an attempt to limit access to foreign media. A Myanmar Post Office official, who could not be named, said that renewing an existing license for a satellite dish now cost one million kyat (800 dollars), a staggering rise on last year's fee of 6,000 kyat (4.80 dollars)..."
  • "Functions of Radio Division," Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs (in English). Includes links to some license application forms.
  • "A personal assistant for everyone," by Khin Hninn Phyu, The Myanmar Times,4-10 July 2005: "...Although [PDAs] are relatively inexpensive, they cannot be used to their potential in Myanmar because of the lack of an efficient wireless system, [according to Ko Nyi, a distributor of PDAs and laptops] 'Once a wireless communication system is widely available in Myanmar, the PDA market will boom and people will likely begin to use them extensively,' he said...."
  • "Attack severs Myanmar Internet," by Craig Labovitz, Arbor Networks' blog, 3 November 2010: "Over the course of the past several days, Myanmar's main Internet provider, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (or PTT for short), suffered a large, sustained DDoS attack disrupting most network traffic in and out of the country. While motivation for the attack is unknown, Twitter and blogs have been awash in speculation ranging from blaming the Myanmar government (preemptively disrupting Internet connectivity ahead of the November 7 general elections) to external attackers with still mysterious motives. The Myanmar Times reports the attack has been ongoing since October 25th (and adds the attack may impact Myanmar's tourist industry). We estimate the Myanmar DDoS between 10-15 Gbps (several hundred times more than enough to overwhelm the country's 45 Mbps T3 terrestrial and satellite links). The DDoS includes dozens of individual attack components (e.g. TCP syn, rst flood) against multiple IP addresses within PTT's address blocks (203.81.64.0/19, 203.81.72.0/24, 203.81.81.0/24 and 203.81.82.0/24). The attack also appears fairly well-distributed - ATLAS data shows attack traffic across 20 or more providers with a broad range of source addresses... Most Myanmar Internet traffic goes through IPTel AS45419 (you can see a nice graph of the connectivity using HE’s ASInfo tool)... More information on PTT's network is available on their home page (but this web site - and all of Myanmar for that matter - is currently unreachable)..."
  • "The Great Firewall of Burma," Associated Press (via The Guardian Unlimited), 22 July 2003: "About one in 5,000 people has internet access, and even that is restricted by firewalls and other government-imposed limitations. It was a limited cyber-thaw, then, when Burma's isolationist regime, which controls all media and communications in the country, allowed the two cybercafes to open earlier this year... Burma's government blocks the free email services of Hotmail and Yahoo, forcing people to buy accounts from tightly controlled government providers, one of which is owned by the son of military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt, the junta's third-ranking leader. Regulations issued in 2000 forbid the posting of political writings on the internet. Also banned was anything "detrimental" to Burma or its "current policies and secret security affairs." One law on the books sets a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for possessing a modem without permission... Even the business centres at five-star hotels do not provide internet, only allowing guests to send and receive email through hotel accounts. The staff prints out all emails received, smilingly handing paper copies of private messages to guests, ostensibly as a service, but making visitors feel monitored..."
  • "Cyber village project in Myanmar," by Saiful Islam, Voice of South, 5 August 2007: "According to the MPT, the number of internet users in Myanmar has reached nearly 300,000, up from merely 12 in four years ago. The authorities have projected to introduce 400 public internet service centers in 324 townships in the country within three years to facilitate communication links..."
  • "Internet in Myanmar" by Wit Hmone T. Latt and Myat Su Yin for the Asia Pacific Networking Group meeting in 2004 said a new communications law was then being drafted. However, no evidence has been found that it was enacted.
  • "Notification No.3/2002 - Wide Area Network Establishment and Service Providing" order was issued in 2002, according to the "ICT Profile of Myanmar" prepared by the Posts and Telecommunications Dept. for the 2004 Asia-Pacific Telecommunity meeting.
  • Chapter IX of "State Law and Order Restoration Council Law No. 10/96: The Computer Science Development Law" (20 September 1996) says that owning or using a "fax-modem card installed computer which can transmit or receive data" requires a license from the Ministry of Communications except when the computer is used only for teaching, office work or business. Paragraph 28 states that "A person desirous of setting up a computer network or connecting a link inside the computer network shall apply to the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs in accordance with the stipulations to obtain prior sanction..."
  • Type acceptance is no longer enough to use a cordless phone, says the Ministry of Communications. Each device must be individually licensed. Click here for the English version of the Cordless Phone License Application.
  • "Myanmar Allows Mobile Phones to Be Used in Capital City," Agence France Presse (via Cellular News, 26 October 2009): "Myanmar's government is reported to have permitted mobile phones to be used in its secretive capital city, Naypyidaw. Phones, which are already highly restricted were banned in the new capital city for security reasons... 'Mobile phones have been allowed since October 9 around Naypyidaw...' a hotel staff member in Naypyidaw told AFP on condition of anonymity. 'It's the first time the authorities have allowed a mobile service in Naypyidaw,' she said, adding that many hotels had already applied for permission to use the network. Where mobile phone coverage is available in other city, phones are usually only offered to military officers or business people with close ties to the military rulers. The country has both GSM and CDMA networks. A WCDMA network was launched last year, with very limited availability. The Mobile World analysts estimates that the country had nearly 540,000 subscribers, representing a population penetration level of just 1.2%... Government and military contacts tend to find it easier to get the paperwork to own a mobile phone - but often then rent out those phones to business users."
  • "SMS for Burmese mobile phones," Cellular News, 10 October 2005: "The few mobile phone users in Burma (Myanmar) are to be permitted use of SMS services for the first time. As befits the military controlled country though - all messages are to be passed though a censor in the SMSC which will flag so called seditious messages... Local reports suggest that the new service is not attracting a lot of interest as the messages have to be sent in English and cost a staggering US$4 per message. It is estimated that there are less than 200,000 cellphones in use in the country, most used by the military and politically connected business elite."
  • "Customer Success Stories: Pioneering Wireless Broadband in Myanmar," smartBridges Inc.
  • A Burmese-language discussion of WLANs started on 19 December 2004 on Bagan.net. One message linked to a company in Mandalay that sells WLAN hardware: Alpha Info-Tech.
  • "Chapter IV - Myanmar: Country Background and Policies Governing ICT Use and Production," in Trade and Investment Policies for the Development of the Information and Communication Technology Sector of the Greater Mekong Subregion, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, publication ST/ESCAP/2336 (2004).
  • According to an undated entry in the US Amateur Radio Relay League's reciprocal licensing database, amateur radio was banned in Burma/Myanmar until "recently".
  • "Radio Interception: A Key Survival Skill During War," by Aung Naing Oo, Irrawaddy, 27 February 2010: "I read an interesting story last December about militants in Iraq intercepting live video feeds from US unmanned Predator drones, using $26 off-the-shelf software. With that inexpensive software, the Iraqi rebels could watch multi-million US drones bombard militant targets. Such sophisticated interception may help the rebels avoid crucial attacks. That reminded me of the importance of radio interception during my years on the border with the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) - a crucial military survival skill that the ABSDF fighters learned from the Karen... After the signal department filed translated intercepts, the reports were skimmed by the Information Department for news with political value or worth disseminating. Then it collaborated with ABSDF research office to turn the reports into news, complete with background material..."

Asia & Pacific - Regional Overview