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qb Xchange: Quality data at lower price

As high-tech mobile devices have become an everyday staple, the Kingdom’s telecommunication companies have had to shift towards offering better data packages and incentives to meet the smartphone demand that requires affordable and reliable connectivity in order to remain competitive.

That is why, according to qb CEO Alan Sinfield, “qb has a comprehensive data service that provides probably the best value pricing in the market with [their] Xchange offer. It is particularly popular with Smartphone users and other mobile data customers such as tablet users.”

The Xchange programme is a service that allows customers to use their mobile phone credit to buy mobile data packages at a discounted rate. For $2, customers can receive three gigabytes of data for a month—a $28 value according to their website—which can be used on smartphones and tablets like iPads.

Along with qb’s data solutions, their voice coverage varies from 3G coverage in major urban areas and along the Kingdom’s main transportation arteries, to 2G coverage that stretches out into the majority of provinces. Sinfield explained that “qb is determined to offer all of our customers the best possible service and value.”

“For this reason we give all customers $10 free on net minutes every day and thereafter its only 1 cent per minute to call friends, family and anyone else on qb,” he said. “This is the lowest net rate in Cambodia.”

One thing that qb specializes in, with the forethought of Cambodia becoming an increasingly regional destination for workers and families, is providing affordable international calling rates.

“We offer the best international calling rates starting at 3 cents per minute to popular destinations such as China, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea,” he said.

As the brand name for the Gulf-owned (Cambodia) Advance Communications, qb has seen the market unfold since it first launched its services in 2008, after receiving a telecommunications license in 2006.

Since becoming a player in the telecoms industry, qb has seen how far the telecoms industry has come, as well as how much further it needs to come in order to better supply customers and telecom businesses alike.

While Cambodia’s increasingly competitive—and largely unregulated—telecoms industry has seen a spate of mergers and acquisitions over the years that have established three dominate mobile network providers, it has not been easy for smaller mobile operators such as qb.

However, as Sinfield explained, these mergers, from a competition standpoint, are pushing the industry in the right direction.

“In the past, there have been far too many operators fragmenting a relatively small population and customer base,” he said. “The consolidation activities that have occurred have been a positive development for the industry.”

Nevertheless, the consolidation of providers, in his opinion, has not been enough to provide positive market growth in a developing industry that has yet to adopt formalized practices for the benefit of the consumer and companies.

“The telecoms industry in Cambodia needs stronger regulations to ensure that an even playing field exists, and these regulations need to be supported by a telecom law and a law on competition,” he said.

One of the hindrances to competition, he said, is that mobile termination rates “are currently artificially set far too high.” By that, he is referring to how when customers call across different network providers, additional fees accumulate, thus “restrict[ing] competition” by narrowing the market potential by delaying cross-network communication.

“As soon as mobile termination rates are reduced from their prescribed high levels, there will be even further improvements that will have a positive impact on reducing some of the more predatory pricing tactics that have been seen in the market,” he said, referring to the active price wars that have hindered the industry.

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