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Mfone records $1 million Cambodian loss

Mfone records $1 million Cambodian loss

MOBILE-phone provider Mfone saw its subscriber base tumble 28 percent year-on-year as its parent company claimed losses totalling more than US$1 million in the Kingdom during the first quarter of 2010, according to a Thaicom company statement.

Thaicom Public Company Ltd cited an increasingly crowded mobile-phone sector as subscribers for its Cambodian subsidiary Mfone dropped to 665,834 at the end of March, compared to 925,002 subscribers at the same date last year, in results released Wednesday.

The firm owns 51 percent of Mfone, with Asia Mobile Holdings controlling the other 49 percent.

“During 2009, three new mobile-phone service providers entered the market, resulting in fierce competition in Cambodia’s mobile-phone industry,” the Bangkok-based Thaicom said in a statement.

New market entrant Metfone, owned by Vietnam-based Viettel, has replaced Mfone as Mobitel’s main challenger in Cambodia, according to statistics measuring the number of SIM cards active in Cambodia at the end of the first quarter.

The numbers, released by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on Wednesday, pegged Mfone’s market share at 9.6 percent, the fourth-largest.

Thaicom’s combined Cambodian operations, including Mfone, generated $3.14 million in profits during the first quarter 2009, the report detailed. Its loses were measured at $1.01 million for the first quarter of 2010.

Mfone officials did not return a request for comment on the results for its individual subsidiaries, which include 100 percent-owned satellite dish firm Cambodian DTV Network Ltd, on Thursday.

Thaicom, which is 41 percent owned by Shin Corp, lost a total of $4.86 million in the first quarter, an improvement on $6.81 million in losses suffered during the same period last year.

Shin Corp was controversially sold by former Thai Prime Minister and current economic adviser to the Cambodia government Thaksin Shinawatra in January 2006.

Thaicom’s 49 percent stake in Laos Telecommunications Company (LTC) Ltd saw first quarter profits rise by $455,339 to $2.23 million year on year, as its subscriber base jumped from 1,033,839 at the end of March last year to 1,328,800 at the same date in 2010.

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