Qatar Telecom QSC would invest $15 billion in rolling out a telecommunications network across Myanmar, should it win one of two licences being tendered in the Southeast Asian country, a senior company executive said.
The company would roll out a 3G data network across the country, reaching 90% of the population within two years if it wins a license, Chief Strategy Officer Jeremy Sell told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday.
"Myanmar is one of the world's last exciting greenfields," he said. "Over the lifetime of the license, we are looking to spend $15 billion on the opportunity."
The Myanmar government said in January it would grant two licenses, each for 15 years, to open up its telecom market and increase voice and data penetration in a country where less than 10% of the population have a mobile phone.
About 5.4 million of Myanmar's 60 million population had a mobile-phone subscription at the end of 2012, according to government figures. The government wants to increase the percentage of the population owning a mobile phone to between 75% and 80% by 2015-2016.
If Qatar Telecom, which recently rebranded as Ooredoo from Qtel, is awarded a license it plans to build more than 10,000 base stations in Myanmar, focusing coverage on urban and downtown areas, Mr. Sell said. The Myanmar government is considering bids from 11 possible operators, he added.
In April, the Myanmar government named 12 shortlisted applicants who could formally bid for the two licenses. A consortium comprising Vodafone PLC and China Mobile Ltd. said last month it had withdrawn from the process.
Mr. Sell said Ooredoo could eventually take a 35% share of the mobile-phone market in Myanmar and is looking to form partnerships with distribution, retail and financial services companies in the country to help sell its products. The country's mobile penetration rate could eventually reach 140%, he added.
The bid for a license in Myanmar comes as the company also awaits a decision on its recent bid for Vivendi SA's 53% stake in Morocco's Maroc Telecom (IAM.CL).
"We are confident we can do Maroc Telecom and this," said Mr. Sell, adding the company would use existing financing to fund both investments.
Qatar Telecom and Abu Dhabi's Emirates Telecommunications Corp., or Etisalat, each said in April that they had made binding offers for Vivendi's 53% stake in Maroc Telecom after a months-long process.
The Moroccan government must approve any new owner as it holds a 30% blocking stake in the operator. Neither company has disclosed the value of their binding bids. Vivendi has been seeking at least 5.5 billion euros ($7.2 billion) for its stake in the carrier.