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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - E-card holders concerned about SIM card exchange

E-card holders concerned about SIM card exchange

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Customers in front of Cellcard’s head office on Sihanouk Boulevard, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Mfone e-card holders are concerned that their cards can no longer be used after the exchange of Mfone’s SIM card for Cellcard’s SIM. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Mfone e-card holders are concerned that the cards can no longer be used after the change from Mfone’s SIM card to Cellcard’s SIM and, along with officials, are unsure of a solution.

Wholesalers and retailers have expressed concern that they will lose money when the scratch cards they sell cannot be used.

Sor Sokuthea, a 32-year old retailer near the Boeng Keng Kang market, said she had sold scratch cards for nearly two years and had never had a problem before.

She is having issues with up to $70 Mfone scratch cards.

Sokuthea said the value of her cards was not large compared with other wholesalers whose cards were worth thousands of dollars, and it was not fair on customers if they could not reuse their cards.

She said she had contacted Mfone directly, but its staff did not have any clear answers for the problem.

“I think that if they don’t have solutions for this issue, it is so unjust,” she said.

A wholesaler and owner of the Lyna phone shop on Norodom Boulevard who asked not to be named said she distributed cards for retailers around the Tonle Bassac commune.

She said she still had more than $300 worth of scratch cards, but several of the retailers’ customers who had bought some of her cards had come to her to complain.

“Every day, I am so exhausted from responding to them [retailers],” she said.  “They have cards, but they [retailers] complain because they don’t have much money.

“I am so concerned, because they (Mfone) tell us they will find a solution later.”

After Mfone staff referred calls from one section to another, the Post’s reporter finally reached the firm’s headquarters for clarification, but was told to wait for a senior official.

Finally, a staff member who refused to give their name said the company’s officials had no more information to add.

“[Officials] have no information to tell you,” he said, adding that “The company is still taking action. They told me this, and told me to tell you  this,”  he said.

Post and Telecommunications Minister So Khun said officials from Mfone and Mobitel had recently met to discuss solutions for customers.

“We met a few days ago to ensure the customers’ interests were being met,” Khun said, adding: “The court’s verdict required losses to companies to be addressed, but it does not affect customers’ [interests].”

Speaking to Mobitel via its 812 customer hot line, the company said it would recognise the money on exchanged SIM cards eligible for on-net use only.

Earlier this month, the Post reported that Mfone had reached a deal with Mobitel by transferring all its subscribers to Mobitel.

That deal came a month after Hello Axiata had signed a merger agreement with the Latelz Company, which operates under the Smart Mobile brand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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