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Smartphone demand rises

Cambodian consumers are increasingly purchasing higher-end phone handsets, according to industry experts.

“Consumers are definitely very savvy and we can see they are updated with the latest and coolest [handsets],” said mobile provider Hello’s marketing manager Gary Foo on Thursday. “We recognise consumer trends [are] moving towards smartphones.”

Hello was the first service provider to introduce Blackberry handsets to the Kingdom two years ago and has launched two new models this week – the white Blackberry Bold 9780 and the Blackberry Curve 9300 phones.

Hello now has five different Blackberry models available from Canadian handset manufacturer Research in Motion.

Data demand

Gary Foo said Hello was seeing strong demand for its data services, though voice related calls were now its main revenue driver. Declining to give the exact number of data users, he said figures were growing healthily and were encouraging.

“Voice will continue to be the majority revenue contribution so it will take time, but nonetheless [data services are] something we would continue to invest in,” he said.

“The challenge is keeping up with consumers’ ever changing trends.”

The move towards smartphones was most evident in major cities and among businessmen, he said.

A number of other companies providing smartphones have recently made pushes into the Kingdom.

Nokia and LG push

South Korean handset manufacturer LG opened an outlet on Mao Tse Toung Boulevard last year, while Finland’s Nokia also opened its first office in Cambodia in 2010.
Nokia Business Development Manager for Cambodia and Laos Mohammed Mesbahuddin said that most of the major international handset brands were now present in Cambodia. Data services were becoming a key driver in how companies sold handsets, he said.

“Mobile internet will overcome fixed internet [on computers] in a short period of time,” he said. “It’s already happening in [other parts of] Asia.”

Nokia launched a new data handset in Cambodia this week, the X2-01, which is aimed at a younger demographic.

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