Internet service provider (ISP) Emaxx yesterday said it would scrap its retail operations and invest $148 million in telecommunications infrastructure with work beginning in October.
Representatives from Emaxx hosted a news conference at the Sofitel Phnom Penh touting the move, which they say will elevate the company to become Cambodia’s largest wholesale optic fibre and 4G network supplier.
Emaxx CEO Ai Min said the company had finalised the purchase of 3,000 kilometres of existing optic fibre network from Cambodia Fibre Optic Communication Network – a Chinese-owned telecommunications infrastructure supplier.
The optic fibre network will support the construction of a nationwide 4G Long-Term Evolution (4GLTE) network with up to 600 base stations scattered around the country, the CEO said.
Two $24 million data storage hubs – one in Vietnam-border town Bavet and another in Phnom Penh – will also be built, Min said. The data centres are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.
When completed, the network will be leased to retail telecommunications firms such as mobile service operators and other ISPs. Min said construction on the 4GLTE network will commence in Phnom Penh on October 30.
“We are aiming to have 100 4GLTE base stations built around Phnom Penh by December this year,” he said, without confirming a final completion date for the remainder of the project.
The announcement comes after Chinese firm Shenzhen Keybridge Communications (SKC) purchased a 65 per cent stake in Emaxx in January.
Prior to SKC’s buy-in, Emaxx provided retail consumer fixed-line and wireless internet services.
SKC president Ye Qiong said the decision to focus on providing infrastructure rather than consumer products was simple.
“We have budgeted $148 million for the new infrastructure projects . . . Now, instead of being competitors with other ISPs, we will become cooperators,” he said.
Qiong added that the new network will place Emaxx above all other wholesale infrastructure providers in Cambodia, including market leaders Ezecom.
In 2011, Ezecom purchased wholesale optic fibre company Telcotech Ltd. Telcotech currently has 12,000 kilometres of optic fibre network, according to the company’s website.
Ezecom CEO Paul Blanche Horgan declined to address the SKC president’s remarks.
“Deployment of more 4G networks helps the need for more broadband access by users and we welcome every one investing in this area,” he said.
Earlier this week, mobile operator Beeline announced plans to launch a 4G network by the end of the year.
In January, Smart Mobile launched its 4GLTE network. Smart’s network currently operates from six 4GLTE base stations around Phnom Penh.
Smart CEO Thomas Hundt said he was unaware of Emaxx’s plan and was not concerned about competition.