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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Beeline buzzes on Q4 report

Beeline buzzes on Q4 report

2009 results show active users have climbed up to 367,000

THE number of Beeline active subscribers to mobile phones has climbed beyond 370,000 since its national launch less than a year ago, according to the year-end report of the brand’s Russian parent company.

Beeline active subscribers reached 367,000 at the end of 2009, climbing from 79,000 in the second quarter that year and 95,000 at the end of the third quarter, according to Vimplecom’s annual results.

The subscriber numbers have now risen beyond 370,000, the report added.

Boris Nemsic, CEO of the Moscow-based multinational Vimplecom, announced the findings to company executives and analysts in a conference call late Thursday.

The company is now seeing “much more healthy revenues” in Cambodia, Nemsic said.

The rise in subscribers helped the consolidated gross margin for Southeast Asian units – Cambodia and Vietnam – move into the black for the first time at US$500,000 last quarter after negative margins of $1 million in the second quarter and $700,000 in the third. Quarter-on-quarter revenues in the region were stable at $2.4 million.

During the conference call, Ivan Kim, of Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, quizzed Nemsic on flat revenues in the face of increased subscribers.

“We had in the previous quarters a very high amount of initial loads and charges on the SIM cards, due to the market entry,” Nemsic said. “What we have now is a much more stable situation, much more healthy revenues — revenues which are based on average revenues per user, which are increasing.”

The fourth-quarter results mark the beginning of “real operation” for the Cambodian venture, Nemsic said, after initial investments accrued during Beeline’s entry in a crowded sector, where nine mobile-phone companies are competing for an estimated five million subscribers, a figure that is rising rapidly.

Pricing promotions among competitors led to government regulations in December that created a price floor on tariffs. All companies are now conforming with the regulations, government officials say, but it remains unclear how the new pricing is affecting subscriber rates.

Beeline representatives in Phnom Penh did not respond to emailed questions Monday.

In November 2009, Mobitel maintained the highest levels of penetration in the subscriber market at 15.05 percent, followed by Mfone at 6.76 percent, Metfone at 6.39 percent, Hello at 4.48 percent and Beeline at 1.83 percent, according to government figures.

“Of course, everybody is aware that in Asia, especially in these booming countries, there is a high [subscriber] volatility based on promotions and so on,” Nemsic told executives. “Overall, the business development in Cambodia is on schedule, and we are satisfied with the progress we achieve today.”

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