46m people in Myanmar now use the internet, up 10m from last year

Yangon smartphone users. Photo: Flickr / Remko Tanis

The number of internet users in Myanmar has jumped by 10 million over the past year, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Transport and Communications acquired by Eleven.

The ministry report states that there were roughly 36 million internet users last year, and that number has jumped to over 46 million this year (so far). Authorities estimate that about 89% of the population is now online.

The report also states that there were over 44 million land and mobile phones registered in the 2015-2016 economic year; as of the end of January this year, there are a total of 54 million registered phones. To put that into percentages, technically about 86% of the population had phones last year, but that number has jumped to 105% this year. However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that mobile users usually own multiple sim cards.

Unsurprisingly, most Myanmar citizens access the internet through their mobile internet services.

In order to facilitate this jump in mobile and internet penetration, authorities intend to build a total of 16,965 cell towers across the country. As of the end of January this year, there are 14,872 towers within Myanmar.

Although 4G services were introduced last year, limited spectrum access within the country has prevented telecom companies from offering faster 4G in more areas. However, officials have plans to install 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands this year in order to expand 4G coverage across the nation.

Of course, with faster mobile internet services comes more mobile opportunities. Most recently, ride-hailing service Grab launched a beta trial of their service in Yangon. Following Grab’s announcement, Uber released a promo video earlier this week claiming that they, too, would be ‘arriving soon’.

Also, more than 35,362 kilometers of fiber cables have been laid, and another 10,730 kilometers are under construction.

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