The Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), is the sole provider of telecommunication services in Myanmar. It is a Government Agency, operating under the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs. It was founded in 1884 as a small Department of Posts and Telegraphs and has grown into the present day Myanma Posts and Telecommunications with approximately 13800 employees of which about 380 are managerial level staff. The present organization is headed by the Managing Director and a General Manager as his deputy. There are nine major departments operating under respective deputy general managers/chief engineers in the fields of administration, works and inspection, planning, training, finance, stores, automatic telephones, overseas communications and long distance communications. The three main categories of services rendered by MPT are the postal services, telegraph services and telephone services, for both domestic and international communications.
Though the first telegraph lines were erected in Myanmar in 1861, the telephone services in Myanmar started in 1884, eight years after the invention of the unique instrument by Sir Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. In 1884 there were about 1300 telephone lines in Yangon and in the years that followed had grown considerably and in 1937, links to other 50 towns in provincial areas were established by making use of open wire lines and open wire carrier systems, both for telegraph and telephone services.
In the post war period, telecommunication services continued to grow and in 1956 MPT launched a project called Yangon Automatisation with 4 crossbar switches in Yangon and was completed in 1962. By the end of 1962 there were 80 exchanges in the country inclusive of 4 crossbar automatic exchanges in Yangon and the total number of telephone lines were 14,754. In the year 1967 the number of telephone had grown to 21,444 and continued to grow ever since. Up to the early 1970's MPT was operating with about 143 exchanges of which 6 were automatic exchanges in Yangon . The total number of telephone in Yangon at that time was about 17,400 and nationwide was about 22,000. For national long distance communication the first low capacity microwave transmission system was introduced in 1960 in delta area. Other national long distance communication systems at that time were 3 and 12 channel open wire carrier systems. Both international telephone and telex services during that time chiefly used H.F radio communication.
In 1978, MPT launched the First telecommunication development project promoting and improving the telecommunication services rendered. The project comprises installation of local crossbar automatic exchanges 3 in Yangon and 12 in provincial towns including Mandalay the second capital city of Myanmar, installation of 5 systems of 6 GHz 960 channel baseband analog microwave systems, installation of 2 national transit crossbar exchanges one in Yangon and another in Mandalay, installation of standard B satellite earth station with one SPC international gateway switch and implementation of one SPC telex switch in Yangon.
The first telecommunication development project had brought in subscriber trunk dialing facilities as the first time to eight towns in Myanmar including Yangon and Mandalay . The standard B satellite earth station with capacity of 60 SCPC/IDR circuits had direct connections to six countries at that time.
Upon completion of the first project, MPT continued the progress by implementing the Second Telecommunications Development project in 1985 and completed in 1987. The second project enhanced the first by the installation of 13 new exchanges 3 in Yangon and 10 in provincial towns. Unlike the first project, the exchanges installed during the second project were digital electronic exchanges. During this period 2 new microwave systems were also implemented. The second project raised the total number of telephone exchanges installed to 243 and the total number of telephones to 73203.
Local automatic exchanges, national transit exchanges and microwave routes together with UHF/VHF links, implemented during the first and second telecommunications development projects provided Subscribers Trunk Dialing (STD) service to 20 towns including Yangon and Mandalay . These two development projects contributed significant telecommunication services for the promotion and strengthening of the socio-economic situation of the country. The funding of the two projects came from the credit of the world bank.
The project for the implementation of eight digital automatic exchanges in eight provincial towns was initiated in 1987 with the cooperation of a grant by the Japanese Government. The project was suspended in 1988 after the installation of the switches in four towns without the outside plant network. MPT using available materials was able to construct the outside plant and commissioned the 4 exchanges. The implementation of remaining 4 exchanges and outside plants cable networks are still being suspended.
The project for the establishment of standard A satellite earth station and new International gate way switch was also initiated in 1987 with the cooperation of OECF Japanese Yen Loan. The project was also suspended in 1988 after KDD had completed the survey works just before September 1988.
Existing Telecommunications status
MPT, as a sole provider of telecommunication services in Myanmar , is making continuous efforts to develop telecommunication infrastructure in Myanmar . MPT awares the fact that communications provide an essential tool for the administration, economic, social and cultural development of peoples and also encourages men's growing expectation of the progress to a certain extent. MPT also noticed that development in telecommunication sector truly supports the growth in economy, boosting up of the productivity, accelerating of industrial activities, improvement in agriculture outputs, greater transportation efficiency and social equity.
With these facts in mind and taking guidance of the leaders of the country, MPT has continued planning for more additions to the telecommunication network as well as upgrading the services rendered. In the recent years demand for telecommunication services has significantly increased due to existing economic situation based on market oriented economy.
December 2005 statistics showed the figures for telephone exchanges as 848 and number of telephones as 482,128 inclusive of PSTN, cellular mobile telephone and wireless local loop (TDMA and CDMA-WLL). Out of existing 848 local exchanges, there are 182 ESS and 10 crossbar exchanges and remaining 656 are manual exchanges of various capacities ranging from 50 to 400 lines. 31 automatic exchanges that is 29 digital and 2 crossbar are located in Yangon and the remaining in provincial towns. The present number of telephones of 482,128 for 54.31 million inhabitants brought the telephone density of the country as 0.89 per 100 inhabitants.