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ISPs revel in ministry’s legal threat to unlicensed telcos

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Fixed broadband internet subscriptions across the Kingdom’s 37 providers rose 33.07 per cent year-on-year to 249,132 in May. Hong Menea

ISPs revel in ministry’s legal threat to unlicensed telcos

The private sector welcomed the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications newest warning to unlicensed or otherwise non-legally-compliant telecoms operators as a necessary building block for sustainable growth in the industry.

Endorsed by minister Chea Vandeth, the March 4 announcement warned of legal action if telecoms operators collude with or sell wholesale internet access services to unlicensed providers to offer end-users in retail packages.

“The public must stop using the internet services provided by unlicensed firms,” the ministry stressed, adding that to date, 49 telecoms operators hold valid licences.

Sok Channda, president and CEO of Angkor Data Communication Group Co Ltd (MekongNet), lauded the move as a proactive leveller in the business playing field for the industry.

“It’s truly a brilliant move on part of the ministry to take action against unlicensed companies,” she said.

Licensed internet service providers (ISP) are feeling the pinch from their unlicensed counterparts that undercut sales, she fumed, pointing out that MekongNet’s customer base gravitates more toward intermediary network providers rather than end-users.

Channda hopes that the ministerial announcement will lead to positive changes in the industry and offer a pathway out of the grey market. “I wish to see those who are unlicensed to apply for one and comply with existing laws.

“And the customers who decide to splash out on [internet] from licensed [ISPs] will get high-quality services,” she said.

The ministry encouraged the public to double-check the legitimacy of telecoms operators with the up-to-date list of licensed firms posted on the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia’s (TRC) website at trc.gov.kh.

The number of active mobile phone subscriptions across the Kingdom’s six operators was 20,481,051 as of the end of May, inching down 0.08 per cent from the end of May 2019, the latest data from the TRC show.

This figure is the equivalent of 124.09 per cent of the total population.

The number of mobile internet subscriptions across Cambodia’s seven providers also recorded a 2.36 per cent drop to 14,863,435, whereas fixed broadband internet subscriptions across the Kingdom’s 37 providers logged a 33.07 per cent climb to 249,132.

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