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Hello waves users goodbye

MOBILE provider Hello has seen its subscriber base cut nearly in half in just three months, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

Statistics for June – which measured the number of active SIM cards for the Kingdom’s nine mobile operators – showed that Hello’s subscriber base declined 46 percent to 491,146 customers, from 910,077 in March.

The firm has fallen behind rival Mfone to become Cambodia’s fourth-largest provider by subscriber numbers, according to the data.

But yesterday, Hello’s chief marketing officer, Eric Chong, said that its bottom line had not been hurt by the decline in active SIM cards recorded by the MPTC.

“We have not seen a significant impact to our revenue over the same period,” he wrote yesterday, while admitting that the firm had been behind rivals in introducing per- second billing.

“Over the period, we purged our subscriber base to reflect the actual active subscribers on our network,” he said.
Chong said that per-second billing introduced last week had seen a “positive response” from customers so far.

The data produced by the MPTC showed that Star-Cell, Smart Mobile, and Metfone gained the largest number of subscribers by percentage.

Star-Cell’s base grew by 39 percent to 486,749 users. Company officials confirmed the numbers yesterday, but declined further comment.
Smart Mobile’s subscribers reportedly increased by 22 percent to 367,693.

Metfone, Cambodia’s second largest provider, saw its subscriber numbers increase by some 17.9 percent. Owned by the Vietnamese military, the firm’s total active subscribers stood at 2 million, up from 1.7 million as recorded in March.

The largest mobile provider in Cambodia remained Mobitel, which reported 2.8 million active SIMs. Part of the Royal Group headed by Kith Meng, Mobitel’s subscribers rose by about 4 percent from the March figure.

Beeline, owned by Moscow-based Vimpelcom, saw a 24 percent decline to 256,542 active users in June, according to the MPTC’s statistics. Beeline’s General Director Gael Campan did not return a request for comment yesterday.

Qb saw a drop of some 7 percent to 87,958 active users in June.

Qb Chief Executive Officer Alan Sinfield wrote yesterday that his company was performing well and retaining active users. He said that the decline was a result of removing older, inactive numbers from its registry.

The figures show there are some 7.3 million active SIM cards in Cambodia, but operators have noted that many people own multiple SIM cards and frequently switch among them, chasing promotional tariffs.

MPTC’s Directorate of Telecommunications Policies Reg-ulation Deputy Director Sieng Sithy, who was not available for comment yesterday, has said previously that the statistics are an amalgamation of data reported by the operators to the ministry on a monthly basis.

Definitions of “active SIM” cards vary among the Kingdom’s nine operators, Sieng Sithy said.

“Generally, [they base it on] a three-months policy,” he said.

“If the number is not active within three months then it is removed. But some operators use a six-month basis, while others only one month.”

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