The government plans to establish a national digital television platform and will release the 700MHz band to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to help it develop the 5G network.
The move pushes the Kingdom closer to a digital economy, which could be a new engine of growth.
Newly appointed minister Chea Vandeth and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith held a meeting on Tuesday concerning the handover of the 700MHz band, which is currently being used by local television channels but will be transferred to a synchronised digital television platform.
Information and broadcasting director-general Phos Sovann confirmed the plan with The Post on Wednesday, saying the Ministry of Information agreed to release the 700MHz band to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
“We’re planning to establish a centralised digital television platform so that we can release the frequency to the ministry.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen has approved in principle the formation of a working group from the two ministries to establish a digital television platform,” Sovann said, adding that the platform will incorporate all current television channels.
“We proposed an investment budget for the project to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. We hope that the platform starts this year and will be fully functional by 2023 so we can release the frequency to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to develop the 5G network,” he said.
The working group will prepare an investment plan to support the programme and form a comprehensive expansion plan for its first three years (2021-2023).
In April last year, the government signed an agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to assist in building a 5G data network in Cambodia.
Telecommunications company Smart Axiata Co Ltd conducted the first 5G live trial showcase in Cambodia last July.
The company invests $70 to $80 million every year in network infrastructure to improve mobile broadband connectivity across the Kingdom.
Royal Group, which owns mobile operator CamGSM Co Ltd, signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry in May last year to collaborate on the rollout of 5G and the digitalisation of Cambodia.
In November, CamGSM – which operates under the trademark ‘Cellcard’ – tested its new 5G network and in February, the company expressed confidence in its ability to roll it out.
Cambodia counted 16.7 million mobile internet users last year, and 215,000 fixed broadband connections, data from the telecommunications ministry shows.