A consortium which had included Denis O'Brien's Digicel has lost out on the telecommunications licences for Myanmar.

Norway's Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo have been awarded the licences for Myanmar, the government said today, after a tender that will bring foreign companies into the sector there for the first time.

Presidential spokesman Ye Htut announced the results in a statement on his Facebook page.

The operators will roll out networks in a country that analysts say has the lowest mobile phone usage in the world, with only 4-9% of its 60 million people connected.

Hoping to spur economic growth, the government is trying to push penetration rates to 80% by 2016. It has said it will finalise the 15-year licences by September and operators will need to launch services within nine months.

They will have to provide voice services across three-quarters of the country within five years and data services across half of it.

Of the more than 90 companies that submitted bids, 11 were short-listed.

In a statement, Digicel said it was disappointed that it had not been successful in securing one of the two nationwide telecommunications licences on offer in Myanmar.

''Digicel remains committed to exploring commercial opportunities in Myanmar and will be evaluating these on an ongoing basis,'' the statement added.

The consortium comprised YSH Finance Limited - a joint venture between First Myanmar Investment and Yoma Strategic Holdings, Quantum Strategic Partner and Digicel Group.