Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Digi talks customer base in tight market

Digi talks customer base in tight market

Digi talks customer base in tight market

Andrey Shin (Left), CEO of DTV Star Co Ltd, and Chief Marketing Officer Maria Teplukhina, sit at the company’s office in Phnom Penh this week.

In a country where the online penetration is less than 1 percent of 14 million people, Cambodia’s internet service providers fight over a very small pie.

So to guarantee itself a piece, Digi has emphasised low prices and the younger demographic. Compared to rivals, Digi aims to charge less for more.

Some providers’ customers pay US$35 a month for unlimited data usage at 128 kilobits per second, while Digi’s clientele can get 1,024 kbps for $12, though they’re capped at 5 gigabytes total for the month.

A low pricing strategy is essential in a country where most of the population is poor and has first accessed the web via mobile phone, according to Digi officials.

“It’s very, very hard to start to use the internet by the computer so we try to make their life easy and to help them,” said Chief Marketing Officer Maria Teplukhina.

At the same time, those prices also exist to attract Phnom Penh’s youth. Some 70 percent of the firms’ customers have never before had a home connection, and are overwhelmingly young people, she said.

In addition, Digi has packaged a number of services geared toward the youth segment, including access to certain social networking and local sites without it subtracting from a customer’s data-usage limits.

“It is not magic” that the firm can offer these services at low prices, Chief Executive Officer Andrey Shin said. “We are in the same position as our competitors.”

Digi is operated by DTV Star Co Ltd, which is owned by Kazakh investors.

The company’s plan since its 2008 inception has been to invest in infrastructure and build a customer base, even if at the expense of profits, Shin said. As the market grows, he is counting on profits to rise.

The firm declined to reveal its profits or current subscriber base. But Shin did say the current number of customers is “not enough to make huge money.”

Digi presently operates only in Phnom Penh city, but intends to expand into Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham and other areas “definitely in the next year,” Tepulkhina said.

The firm is also open to acquiring a competitor or being acquired itself, depending on the situation.

“We’re open for any discussion, any opportunity that could improve our business and extend and make it bigger, if it has business sense,” Shin said.

He said Digi has not given up on its hopes of bringing customers Internet Protocol television.

In 2009, a Ministry of Post and Telecommunications licence was overridden by a monopoly licence granted to local cable company PPCTV by the Ministry of Information.

Digi’s appeals went unheeded, leaving the company to wait until PPCTV’s licence expires. Shin stated he would apply again at that time. “We suspended this situation for a while,” he said.

PPCTV did not respond to a request for comment, while Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached yesterday.


  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards