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Maverick operator Digicel takes on the big boys in Myanmar

Cellular operator Digicel Group Ltd jumped into Myanmar early and big, hiring staff, funding local sports, negotiating land deals for thousands of cell tower sites and signing up hundreds of partners for retail outlets.The strategy helped propel it onto the shortlist for a mobile license in one of the world's last mobile frontiers, putting an operator that ranks 65th globally in terms of customers up against giants such as Vodafone Group Plc.Whether its strategy pays off or not, industry insiders say, Digicel, largely unknown outside the Caribbean and some Pacific islands, has shaken up a usually conservative industry."They have been a disruptive force," said Roger Barlow, a Hong Kong-based telecommunications consultant who has worked in Asia for more than 25 years. "Some of the big guys tend to look down their noses at them but they shouldn't because they're becoming a credible player."Myanmar this month short-listed 12 consortia for two licenses it plans to grant foreign operators in...

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