A N INDOESIAN company will carry out a $15 million refurbishment of Cambodia's UN-installed telephone network, a senior adviser to the government said on Sept 13.
The Indosat company will install at least 10,000 telephone lines as part of the contract, said Dr Peter Booth, senior telecommunications adviser to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
"Indonesia's Indosat has been invited into a joint venture with the government in rebuilding and adapting this network. They are going to invest $15 million in this project," Booth said.
The contract will cover the renovation of the UN cellular network, which provided communications between all of Cambodia's 21 provinces but is now in disrepair.
It was installed by the Australian company Telstra/OTC in 1992 at a cost of about $50 million.
Indosat beat off six international bidders - CP-Telecom and Shinawatra of Thailand, KC Vinamota of Indonesia, France Telecom, Datacom of Germany, and Telstra/OTC.
According to a UN Development Programme report, Cambodia needs to invest $140 milion in the medium term to establish a "suitable" phone infrastructure.
"With less than one telephone per 100 people in Phnom Penh and 0.8 percent per 100 in the country, Cambodia has the world's lowest density of telecommunications facilities," it said.
Fabien Dulphy writes: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has agreed to supply experts to the Royal Government to rehabilitate the country's phone industry.
Under the new agreement, signed on Aug 24, the UNDP will spend $1.3 million providing experts to advise the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia (MPTC), according UNDP programme officer Philippe Devaud.
He said the experts would train MPTC staff, especially to enable them to use the $28 million Satellite system left here by Untac, and also help them to attract high quality foreign investment.
Devaud said the experts would further help to restructure the MPTC and determine the optimal shares between public and private sector involvement in the telecommunications industry.
He added that the experts would also help draft legislation concerning the new technologies coming to Cambodia such as satellite communications.
according to the release.
Devaud also pointed out that at present if people in Cambodia wish to call overseas it is cheaper for them to get a US phone company to call them and connect them with the third country rather than dialing directly themselves.
He said under the cheaper scheme which Cambodian companies are currently being advised to use all the money spent on overseas communications is going to US phone companies.
The UNDP spent $400,000 from June 93 to July 94 supplying experts to advise the MPTC.