New Delhi, Dec 14, 2011 -- Burma will have its first information call centre in three days.
Called Yadanabon call centre, the information service will open on Saturday, operated by Maynmar Telecommunication and Blue Ocean Company in a joint venture.
Free information will be provided for the first two months of operation to people searching for relevant government departments and offices, but are not sure who they should contact, according to the state-run MRTV website. After the free-service period, the centre will charge a fee for each service.
The centre will be open 24-hours a day, providing information on public education, health, social services and communication services. In addition, it will offer special services to private companies by answering their calls and providing information.
Services related to the Internet, e-mail and faxing will also be offered. The operation will employ a staff of 240 people, according to a news release.
The CIA World Factbook says that while Burma’s telephone system "meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government," it is "barely capable of providing a basic service" for average citizens.
In 2010, the Burmese government had installed a total of 1.3 million mobile phones and 866,084 landlines as of July, the Weekly Eleven journal said, citing statistics released by Myanmar Post and Telecommunications.
In contrast, neighbouring Thailand had 28 million mobile phone users in 2008, or nearly half the population.
Part of the reason for Burma’s late communications development has been the high cost of mobile phones: when GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phones were introduced, initial subscription fees were 1.5 million kyat (US $1,500). The average annual wage in Burma is a little over US $250.
Since then, CDMA phones were introduced at a lower cost, but mobile phones remain well beyond the reach of most Burmese citizens.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Date Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2011