The coverage, although vastly improved in past ten years, is nowhere near other neighboring countries like Thailand, where mobile network coverage reaches more than 90% of the country. In Myanmar, coverage is only at cities and towns level with several villages but if you are a bit far away from the towns and major villages, you might not receive mobile signal. For most tourists, this is unlikely to be a problem, as most tourist destinations are covered by good GSM signal.
Although call rates within country are quite cheap, data rate are quite expensive. 1 GB of data will usually cost you around 5 US dollars, and the speed is still quite slow, even if you are using 3G or 4G network. At evening times when a lot of people are using social media, speed can be painfully slow and unreliable. All incoming calls and SMS area free of charge.
MPT (Myanmar Post and Telecomme GSM service)
MPT is owned and managed by the government. It has the best network coverage. Most of the towns in Myanmar and many villages and rural communities are covered by MPT mobile network, so if you are planning to travel to rural areas in Myanmar, MPT might be your best bet. You can buy MPT SIM card at any mobile phone shops, grocery store or MPT outlets. For a foreigner, you will need to show your passport to buy a SIM card. You can also buy top-up cards (as scratch cards) or top up via retailer by e-top up. Top up value starts at 500 kyats up to 30,000 kyats. Voice call charges range from 10 kyats to 25 kyats per minute depending on your package and promotion. Data charges are 6 – 8 kyats per MB of data. You can also buy separate voice packages or data packages for cheaper rate. You can check their packages, promotions and rates at MPT website. MPT has the most user friendly website for their service. MPT Tourist SIM sells at 10,000 kyats and has 5,000 kyats credit and 1.5 GB of data plan.
Owned by Telenor Group, Telenor has one of the best services in Myanmar to the high standard of Telenor networks. You can buy Telenor SIM cards at any retail outlet, phone retailers and grocery stores. Voice plan starts at 10 kyats to 25 kyats, data plan is 8 kyats per MB for regular packages. You will need your passport to buy a SIM card. Telenor offers better data package compared to other service providers at the moment at 1.58 kyats per MB with their highest data package. Check their packages and promotions at Telenor Myanmar website. Telenor tourist SIM sells at 15,000 kyats and preloaded with 50 minutes of local voice call, 1,500 kyats credit and 5 GB of internet and is valid for 14 days. If you are coming from Thailand and using their Telenor card (DTAC SIM card) from Thailand, you can call back to Thailand at only 10 Baht per minute.
Owned by Quarter based Ooredoo Group, Ooredoo has a fairly good mobile signal coverage in Myanmar, comparable to Telenor. Their voice call rate starts at 10 kyats per minute and data plan starts at 5 kyats per MB of data transfer. However, Ooredoo does not have as much extensive data package as other two service providers. You can check their packages and promotions at Ooredoo Myanmar webste. As of this article, Ooredoo does not offer a tourist SIM card.