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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Antenna crackdown successful

Antenna crackdown successful

Government telecommunications officials believe very few commercial antennas in remote

parts of Banteay Meanchey near the border are still illegally connected to lower

cost Thailand domestic telephone networks.

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications ordered that all antenna be disabled

by September 30. It was estimated 500 "interphone" antenna were in use

in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat, Oddor Meanchey and Koh

Kong. Chem Sangva, deputy chief of the inspection department said more than 90 percent

of users voluntarily collapsed their antenna by the deadline before the MPT began

a crackdown. Eighteen antenna were disabled by inspectors and the offenders charged

in court.

He said the Post and Telegraphic Department of Thailand was co-operating with the

MPT to eliminate the abuse.

Sangva said the crackdown occurred because the government was losing too much revenue.

A connection to a Thai network cost about 25,000 baht ($625) per month each.

"If all people use our domestic networks the state income will increase because

we get revenue sharing from the private telephone network companies," he said.

Thach Khorn, Governor of Banteay Meanchey said: "We are not talking anymore;

we have to crack down on all illegal antennas."

Private and commercial antenna have been erected in provinces along the Thai border

since 1993 because Cambodian domestic networks could not provide coverage nationwide.

He said most of the users were business people because the calls were cheaper than

Cambodian networks: overseas calls 80 cents per minute, and a 20 percent discount

on weekends.

Ok Bora, Chief of Post and Telecommunication Office in Banteay Meanchey said a Thai

network covered about four kilometers around Poipet. However, Cambodian domestic

networks like Mobitel, Samart and Camshin which now have transmitters at Poipet could

cover about four to five kilometers inside Thailand, and Cambodian people doing business

in Thailand near the border were able to use these domestic networks.

"Our objective is to crack down on consumers who set up antennas and make business

with them; they can use them personally but they cannot make business," said

Bora.

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