CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, has today announced its investment in Frontiir, the leading internet service provider in Myanmar. The investment will help fund Frontiir’s ambitious expansion throughout Myanmar, connecting over 2 million people to the internet, a press release said.
Despite recent growth in Myanmar’s mobile broadband penetration, access to digital services is very low and presents a challenge for many communities and business development. Data usage remains unaffordable and even inaccessible in rural and low-income areas. Improving access to affordable and reliable internet is central to Myanmar’s development and economic growth, and a key part of UN Sustainable Development Goal # 9.
Frontiir is already a large employer with over 1,600 staff: a large proportion of this would be young people under 30 years old. This investment will support its hiring of an estimated 4,000 additional employees.
Frontiir’s internet connectivity service, branded “Myanmar Net”, is the fastest growing internet service in the country and has scaled quickly since inception four years ago. Its mission is to “provide affordable digital access and information services to people and help bridge the global digital divide”. Frontiir’s plans to expand coverage to lower income townships within Yangon and Mandalay, growing to 22 cities and towns by 2022.
Srini Nagarajan, Managing Director and Head of Asia commented, “At CDC, we firmly believe in the power of connectivity to help build the economic strength of communities and businesses. Frontiir’s expansion has been impressive, led by its experienced management – the team brings a great mix of commercial, innovative and social awareness to the table. CDC’s capital will help accelerate the business growth, helping it reach further remote regions.
This is CDC’s first direct equity investment in Myanmar. We are delighted to be creating long term partnerships in a country where our capital will make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.”
Dr. Godfrey Tan (a.k.a) Dr. Wai Lin Tun, Chairman & CEO of Frontiir says “Frontiir is honoured to be the recipient of the first-ever direct equity investment by CDC in Myanmar, an accolade we believe demonstrates that an ethical, fair, and sustainable business model can still lead to great success amidst huge challenges in an emerging country like Myanmar; and we hope that a new generation of entrepreneurs will follow this path to success. With CDC’s investment, we are excited to have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs and provide millions with unlimited internet for as low as 200 Kyats ($0.13) per day, and triple our foreign direct investment in the next 3 years.”