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16 August 2019.

DANISH SDG FUND CO-FINANCES EXPANSION OF INTERNET CONNECTIVITY IN MYANMAR

In Myanmar, access to digital services is very limited. Through an investment of DKK 25m in the domestic internet service provider Frontiir, which holds modern and competitive technology, the Danish SDG Investment Fund will support a rapid increase in connectivity. In the last three years, the number of Frontiir users has grown from 4,000 to 750,000.

In Myanmar, the mobile penetration has now reached more than 90 per cent, but access to digital services is still very limited. The domestic internet service provider Frontiir is working on expanding connectivity by rolling out a wireless broadband solution and fiber to home connectivity. In recent years, the company has increased the number of service users from 4,000 to 750,000 and is now looking for additional working capital to finance further expansion.

– Frontiir is a very competent company with a proven concept, and we are very pleased to get the opportunity to co-finance the ongoing expansion, which will be of great benefit to people as well as businesses in Myanmar, said Deepa Hingorani, VP South Asia of IFU.

IFU is the Danish development finance institution, which provides risk capital and professional advice to sustainable companies in frontier markets. The investment in Frontiir is made by the Danish SDG Investment Fund, which is a USD 745m public-private fund managed by IFU. The Frontiir investment is IFU’s third investment in Myanmar, with the previous being an investment in microfinance via Alliance and MOF II, a Myanmar based investment fund managed by Delta Capital Myanmar. In total, IFU has made close to 1,300 investments covering more than 100 countries.

Myanmar Net is growing fast

Frontiir is the fastest growing internet service provider in Myanmar. Its broadband internet services offered under the brand Myanmar Net are based on an innovative and proprietary technology developed by its founders, who are returnees from the US where they have spent close to 20 years studying and working within the wireless internet domain.

The service provided is a last-mile broadband wireless internet access, which offers an efficient and affordable solution to companies, households and individuals. Frontiir’s mission is to provide affordable digital access and useful information services to people and help bridge the global digital divide. Frontiir is helping Myanmar build the early stages of modernization of the country’s technology infrastructure and narrow the digital divide. The ambition is to expand the service to lower income townships within the Yangon and Mandalay area growing to 22 cities and towns by 2022.

– We are very pleased and honoured to have received this investment from IFU. I want to thank the Danish institute for their continued commitment to Myanmar’s economic development. With investments like these, Frontiir will be able to expand to other regions, including rural areas, bridging the digital divide in Myanmar and improve the livelihood of customers and staff alike, said Dr. Godfrey Tan (a.k.a) Dr. Wai Lin Tun, Chairman & CEO of Frontiir.

– IFU’s participation in this latest fundraising round by Frontiir is a testament to how far Frontiir has come over the last three years. We are excited to welcome IFU, a leading global institutional investor, as a partner and very much look forward to working together, said Nick Powell, Managing Partner of Delta Capital Myanmar.

A large employer of young people 

Today, Frontiir is already employing more than 1,600 people, of which a large proportion is young people under 30. Around one third are women. Frontiir is amongst the few companies in Myanmar with a strong ESG policy and practice leading to solid, decent jobs. The new investment round from IFU and other investors could lead to an additional 4,000 jobs.