Telenor's information on directives from authorities in Myanmar – February-July 2021
"Directives from authorities in Myanmar – February-July 2021"
On Monday 1 February, a state of emergency was declared under military leadership in Myanmar. The situation in Myanmar is irregular and uncertain, and the authorities are establishing procedures for issuing directives towards operators. Telenor handles these according to its defined processes for authority directives. At Telenor we remain committed to our principle of transparency and we will publish information regarding authority directives on this page.
Update 08.07.21: On 8 July, Telenor Group announced an agreement to sell 100 percent of its mobile operations in Myanmar to M1 Group for a total consideration of 105 million USD (approximately 900 million NOK), of which 55 million USD (approximately 470 million NOK) is a deferred payment over five years. The transaction corresponds to an implied enterprise value of approximately 600 million USD (approximately 5.2 billion NOK). M1 Group will acquire all the shares in Telenor Myanmar and continue the current operation. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in Myanmar. The full announcement can be found on this link.
Challenges and dilemmas in Myanmar
Under the current circumstances, Telenor faces several dilemmas in Myanmar. We entered Myanmar in 2013 with a clear ambition to support the country in its progress towards democracy and economic development. The recent events represent a set-back for the country’s path to reform. Access to telecom services is essential for people to exercise their basic right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to gain information. These services are also critical in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for economic opportunities. When following authority orders in these irregular times, we know it has negative impact on human rights in Myanmar. We are working to minimise this impact, and Telenor continues to emphasise to the authorities that access to telecom services should be maintained at all times.
Keeping the network open and adhering to our established process continues to be important
Keeping open communication lines for the people in Myanmar is important, and Telenor continues to follow its established global process for handling authority directives. Each directive is assessed for legal basis, human rights impact, necessity and proportionality and our ability to be transparent.
As a local employer, Telenor Myanmar needs to handle a difficult situation and ensure the safety and security of employees on the ground during this state of emergency. Our ambition is to continue to take action, and to keep the local and global community informed. Telenor is deeply concerned with events in Myanmar and continues to assess the situation on ground.
Orders and directives received in the period after 1 February 2021:
Update 15.04.21: It is now a month since the Myanmar authorities ordered a nationwide mobile internet shutdown. The continued internet restrictions have severely impacted the people of Myanmar who rely on the internet for staying connected and informed, and is a lifeline to much needed services such as healthcare and banking for millions of people. The prolonged mobile internet shutdown is also detrimental to the country’s economy and businesses. Telenor Group welcomes and supports the Nordic Embassies in Myanmar’s call for the authorities to immediately reinstate access to the internet, as well as halting all violence and respecting people’s human rights of freedom of assembly and expression.
Update 17.03.21: On 15 March, the mobile data network became unavailable in Myanmar. Telenor has protested this development to the telecom regulator in Myanmar, and maintains that the network should be kept open at all times so that people can stay connected, and to ensure people’s basic rights of freedom of expression and opinion.
Update 01.03.21: Referencing our last update, Telenor wants to be transparent about the directives we receive from the authorities, and we had published all of them up until 14 February. We continue to operate in an unpredictable situation in Myanmar and based on a holistic evaluation where we have to balance our principle of transparency with the safety of our employees, it is still not possible for Telenor to disclose the directives. We recognise the impact this has on the local and international community’s ability to receive information and we regret that this currently continues. Our process for handling authority directives includes requiring a written order, and assessing each individual directive based on legal basis, necessity, proportionality and human rights impact. This remains unchanged. You can read more about Telenor’s global process for handling directives from the authorities here.
Update 14.2.21: It is currently not possible for Telenor to disclose the directives we receive from the authorities. We are gravely concerned with this development and recognise the impact this has on the local and international community’s ability to receive information. We deeply regret that the list on this site will no longer be updated.