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Thaicom considers its future in Cambodia

THAICOM may sell its stake in Cambodian mobile operator Mfone and the Laos Telecommunications Company in the wake of continued declining performance, according to reports.

“We are pondering many alternatives, including pulling out of there. A decision on this matter should be made soon,” Thaicom chief executive  Suphajee Suthumpun said last week, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

“We may get rid of them, keep one of them, or keep both. It’s all possible.”

The heads of Cambodia’s  telecos were largely mum on talks regarding a merger with, or the acquisition of, Mfone, although most believe Cambodia’s eight telcos are too many, given the size of the market.  

Hello CEO Simon Perkins last week denied the firm was in discussions with Mfone.

“We have not been app-roached,” Perkins said.

Smart Mobile CEO Thomas Hundt declined to comment, saying: “We will look actively at the market and probable consolidation in the same way we did when merged successfully with Star-Cell.

“As a matter of fact, further consolidation is inevitable.”

The CEO of qb, Alan Sinfield, also declined to comment.  Officials at other providers did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Mfone, 51 per cent owned by Thaicom, offers fixed-line, mobile phone and internet services in Cambodia.

The company last week reported a 21 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in total subscribers, which Thai-com blamed on fierce competition in the Kingdom’s telecoms sector. 

Total subscribers in  the second quarter of 2011 fell 20.7 per cent to about 553,600 from just over 698,000 during the first quarter, according company statements.

Mfone chief executive  Yap Wai Khee and chief marketing officer Sombat Krairit did not respond to questions about a possible sale of the company.

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