Burma (Myanmar) Bans VoIP

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Burma (Myanmar) Bans VoIP

Burma's military junta ordered all public and private Internet cafés to stop using VoIP. According to the Irrawaddy:

“The increasing use of the VoIP overseas calls via the Internet services such as Skype, G [Google] Talk, Pfingo, VZO, etc. given by PACs [Public Access Centers] and cyber cafés have caused official overseas calls through the [junta's] communication services to decline, affecting state revenue,” says the official instruction issued on March 2 by Tint Lwin, the managing director of the Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT), which was sent to the chairman of Myanmar Info-Tech Corporation Ltd.

“Currently, this service has not been officially permitted [by the MPT] to be used, it is illegal under existing telecommunication laws and legal action is likely if the PAC and cyber cafés continue to give the service,” he said.

So because Skype, Google Talk, and others have affected your "state revenue", the solution is to ban them. Reminds me of how lucky I am to live in a free country. Now if you thought that was bad, according to the article, "The junta sells SIM cards for a GSM mobile phone for a whopping 1,500,000 kyat (around $1,685), but this price has in reality doubled on the black market due to the extreme limitations imposed on mobile phone ownership.". $1,685? That's more than the price of an iPhone, Android, Nokia, and a Blackberry combined - all with SIMs included!

With Burma/Myanmar being such a poor country in addition to being repressive, this will not be a popular move with its citizens. If Burma wants to move into the 21st century and grow their economy, they should embrace technology, like India has. India's economy is booming and the Internet has played a huge role in that. Many countries outsource their call centers (for better or for worse) to India and use VoIP trunks to hand off the calls seamlessly an inexpensively.



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