The number of registered mobile phone SIM cards reached more than 19 million in the first 11 months of last year, an increase of more than three per cent compared with the same period in 2017, according to data from the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC).
The figures, released on Tuesday, show that the number of registered SIM cards provided by six mobile operators reached 19.3 million at the end of last year, up 3.78 per cent on 2017.
The number is equivalent to 120.11 per cent of Cambodia’s total population of more than 16 million, and it was an 800,000 increase on the 18.5 million subscribers over the same period in 2017.
The report shows that mobile internet usage also showed a rapid increase, with 12.9 million subscribers using their mobile phones to access online content last year – an increase of 22.79 per cent – while 34 operators provided fixed-internet to 147,596 users – up 9.16 per cent.
TRC spokesman Im Vutha said the number of registered SIM cards only marginally increased over the previous two years due to a heavily saturated market that peaked in 2015 when registrations reached 20.9 million SIM cards.
“We still see an increase because each company wants to encourage its customers to use their services by offering lower prices for in-network calling than their competitors,” he said.
Currently there are six mobile companies operating in Cambodia – CellCard, Metfone, Smart Axiata, qb, Seatel and CooTel.
Asked if there are too many companies in the Kingdom’s saturated market, Vutha said the government does not have a policy in place to limit the number of operators.
While there is no shortage of operators users still face issues, such as deleted credit balances without reason, Vutha said.
“I used to see a lot of complaints on social media about this [deleted balances], but there are no formal complaints filed to the telecom regulator. Even though there are no complaints, the authorities always check out when such claims are made,” Vutha said.
The report also showed that Cambodia currently has seven fixed-line operators – companies offering a telephone landline service – with 91,331 users, down 27.46 per cent from 125,908 users in 2017.