21 June, 2019: On 20 June, 2019, the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) directed all mobile phone operators in Myanmar, including Telenor Myanmar, to temporarily stop mobile internet traffic in nine townships in Rakhine and Chin States. The shutdown, which does not include voice and SMS services, went into effect on 21 June, 10.00pm local time. Telenor Myanmar’s customers in the affected areas are being informed via SMS.
The directive, which makes references to the Myanmar’s Telecommunication Law, does not specify when the shutdown will end. As basis for its request, the MoTC has referenced disturbances of peace and use of internet services to coordinate illegal activities.
From the time of receiving the directive, Telenor Myanmar has been asking for further clarification on the rationale for the shutdown and emphasised that freedom of expression through access to telecoms services should be maintained for humanitarian purposes, especially during times of conflict. Arguments to ensure proportionality and limitations to the scope and time of the shutdown have also been put forward by Telenor Myanmar, and will be further highlighted as part of continued dialogue with the authorities.
Telenor Group believes in open communication. Together with Telenor Myanmar we are actively looking to restore affected services as soon as possible.
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