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Expansion target met early, says Beeline

Expansion target met early, says Beeline

VIMPELCOM, owner of mobile operator Beeline, has extended phone coverage to two-thirds of people in Cambodia ahead of schedule, Gael Campan, general director of the company’s operations in the Kingdom, said Thursday.

“In May we made a commitment to cover 66 percent of the country’s population by the end of the year,” he said, adding that the company had passed that benchmark in mid-December, earlier than it had planned.

The Moscow-based firm has established a network of 429 mobile phone towers in 18 provinces, designed to handle “more than 1 million calls per hour”, said Campan, adding that the company intends to have some degree of mobile coverage in all provinces in the Kingdom by the second quarter of 2010.

Speaking Thursday at what he called “the core”, the centre of the firm’s technological operations in Cambodia, located near Takhmao in Kandal province, Campan declined to discuss the cost of these infrastructure investments, saying it would give competitors an unfair advantage.

Vimpelcom, the latest entrant to the Cambodian mobile market, has pursued rapid development for its Beeline brand in Southeast Asia, launching in May in the Kingdom and July in Vietnam.

In September the firm announced it had agreed to acquire Millicom SA’s 78 percent stake in Millicom Laos Co for about US$66 million, the latest addition to what it calls its “Southeast Asian cluster”.

Beeline is currently facing a lawsuit filed by competitor Mobitel with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in August.

Viettel’s managing director, Nguyen Duy Tho, told the Post this week that the company has 2,400 base transceiver stations active and plans to have 3,000 in operation by the end of 2009 – one in every commune.

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