British International Investment

Frontiir Pte Ltd

Rest of the WorldCommunications & IT services

Frontiir is a leading internet service provider in Myanmar.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Despite recent growth in Myanmar's mobile broadband penetration, access to digital services is very low and presents a challenge for many communities and business development. Data use remains unaffordable and even inaccessible in rural and low-income areas. Improving access to affordable and reliable internet is central to Myanmar's development and economic growth.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact
  • Increase and improve access to information and access to the internet (SDG 9C), leading to better quality of life.
  • Improve economic opportunities by creating jobs (SDG 8.5).

How?

How?
  • CDC’s investment will support value-added services, infrastructure expansion and network enhancement.
    • Business growth will create direct and indirect jobs.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Consumers

Myanmar

  • Expanding from Yangon and Mandalay to 22 cities across the country.
  • Wide reach including access to and affordable for the poor.
Employees

Myanmar

  • 50 per cent of the workforce is aged under 24 and approximately 80 per cent of the workforce is under 30.
  • 2X qualified.
  • Resellers operating in the informal sector (likely to be at lowest income levels for urban areas).

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration
  • Consumers: Adding 2.9 million users.
  • Employees: Creating thousands of new jobs.
  • Consumers: Many subscribers benefitting from roll-out may previously have not had access to data services so the degree of difference it will make to them is likely to be significant. Evidence shows that people value faster and more affordable connections and this network enhancement will help improve both for subscribers.
  • Employees: Frontiir offers employees training opportunities and support. Resellers earn up to 50 per cent of their income from selling Myanmar Net scratch cards.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Financial additionality: The commercial market does not offer capital in sufficient quantities to meet the company's plans or needs.
  • Value additionality: We will support Frontiir on governance, finance function, environmental and social management and support for developmental strategies.
  • Mobilisation: Our involvement helps mobilise capital from others that would not otherwise be available to the investee.

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.

This investment is made under an approved Catalyst Strategy, and therefore does not require a grid score.

Risk

Execution Risk
  • Network rollout to rural may take longer due to accessibility and supporting infrastructure readiness.
Execution Risk
  • Addressing external barriers to internet usage, such as access to devices, remains an important challenge.
External Risk

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We agreed an Environmental and Social (E&S) action plan which included the establishment of an EHS management committee, the development of a formal E&S management system and policies (with TA support), occupational health and safety measures, labour supply chain management and internal and external grievance mechanisms. Given the need to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy when operating in a challenging human rights context, we introduced Frontiir to the Global Network Initiative, and they have since become full-fledged members.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D3629
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    Rest of the World
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Communications & IT services

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Equity
    Start date :
    June 2019
    Amount :
    $20m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Singapore
    2X Gender Finance

    Indicates whether the investment is ‘2X qualified’ using the 2X Challenge criteria. You can find out more here. It only applies to investments made from 2018 onwards, when the 2X Challenge was first launched.

    :
    Partially qualified

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $3m Rest of the World Communications & IT services July 2020 Active

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