Future Potential of using the Internet in Myanmar

Together with the investments of Foreign Telephone Operators, using the internet of Myanmar increased quickly within a few years ago. It is not strange. There were many more mobile user numbers and using internet increased 97 percent than before. But, if it is compared with using the internet of regional countries, the use of Myanmar is interesting. Why? According to the observation of Mozilla company, using internet in Myanmar is only on one side. It is the most use of social media. It is not strange as every user is using for his or her favorite subject matter. At the behind of this event, the important market contest is found.

We cannot deny services that were popular among internet users in Myanmar has more or less influence. Free data plans were popular, firstly. The main thing is that due to the Facebook Flex Plan of MPT that reduces the use of data in using Facebook, many people get the habit of using the social internet more than before.This plan was very convenient as we could read some internet pages (Myanmar Wikipedia and other related pages) with free data. We can say that Myanmar internet users increased as other telephone operators give social special services cheaply later. In another way, that data plan was more effective in Myanmar that has a little wifi service.

Image Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats/all/myanmar

But these services are not accomplished all. For example, most internet users do not have a chance to touch with other various subject matters as they use only allowed internet pages and applications. Although various knowledge and subject matters can be got from internet in other countries, this chance cannot be applied fully in Myanmar. This shows that it is needed to enhance data services. Peter Cenhyon, a policy member of Google, said about the survey of Myanmar Internet Service that “there is equality among internet users in the whole world including Myanmar. When we asked the purpose of internet users in Myanmar, we found only the fact that they answered that they use the internet to keep in touch with families and friends, to relax, to get knowledge and news”. In addition, Cenhyon said that “We find that Myanmar internet users use hand phones more that they can insert SIM cards and can use by changing favorite operator and various data services to achieve the purposes”.Similarly, Hallani Galpayar, Executive Chairman of LIRNEasia Organization, remarked that Chinese mobile phones, can be used two SIM cards simultaneously, is leading in the sector of using Myanmar mobile phone and many people mainly use Android phones that are easy to use. By seeing this, there are the facts to be considered in enhancing to use the internetthat is suitable for Myanmar people.Peter Cenhyon and Hallani Galpayar suggested that it will be better if broader services could be inserted than using social network though free data plan of Telenor was popular among Myanmar internet users. The two hope to be the new data services as the thing should be changed for improving the use of internet skillfully among Myanmar people.

Galpayar said surprisingly, that “the further headache thing to overcome for becoming the broad use of internet for Myanmar is Facebook. Though it is not strange Facebook is the main thing in using the internet of Myanmar like other developing countries, Facebook users do not consider whether it is free plan or not is a surprised thing. It is found that whether there are plans or not is not effective in using Facebook. If we ask Myanmar mobile phone users, social network is popular that causes them to have the illusion that the internet means using Facebook”. According to the survey conducted by the Stat counter organization in October, 2017 to know the condition of social network in Myanmar, Facebook is the winner with 94.18 percent use as most expected. The second is unexpected Twitter and the suppressed fact is that YouTube, was popular before, is the fourth.

Image Source: https://dealerauthority.com/digital-auto-marketing-solutions/

Cenhyon said his opinion that “Users are not eager to read other internet pages as Facebook is very popular in Myanmar”. As another fact, “the fact that they can find and know many things from own pages of political organizations, companies, services and social organizations on Facebook, is creating internet users never to think of leaving Facebook” said by Galpayar.

Galpayar said with a laugh that “if we say as an example, this event is in a Catch – 22(without escape lingeringly). You give good data services for using the internet more. People use Facebook more for this service. Although you give more services, users do not see other internet pages except social network. Although you try to be new data plans, according to market contest, it cannot be said that the use of internet is wide among people”.

Image Source: http://moemaka.com/archives/62416

“Another important obstacle is language to be wide use of the internet. It is needed all popular internet pages to be read by Myanmar language for enhancing using the internet of Myanmar people. Internet services used other languages is not very convenient for Myanmar” remarked by Cenhyon. He explained with a conspicuous example. It is about an internet page located in Yangon that are giving information about health for pregnant women. This page can be found on Facebook.

Cenhyon concluded that “they faced with the difficulty when they use Facebook advertising service to share more information. The number of words is limited to use for advertising. Thus, if they write with Myanmar language, it cannot be written to see the meaning. If they write with English Language, most users are not interested in as they do not understand. This is the difficulty of language problem. These facts are needed to be considered for wide using internet. The lucky fact is that Myanmar writing such as Zawgyi and Unicode becomes to use widely later, the use of the internet becomes easier than before.”

As a conclusion, according to the observation of Mozilla company, Myanmar internet users are eager to enter the wider technology field. They hope for more suitable and better data service plans. At present, although Facebook has the most users, they believe that not only social network, but also other internet pages will be read and used more very soon. I wish Mobile Operators to create and offer convenient and suitable data services for both sides among users and people giving services for wider use of the internet.
Htoo Zeya Maung