Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mfone's pricing plan draws controversy

Mfone's pricing plan draws controversy

Mfone's pricing plan draws controversy

MOBILE service provider Mfone has launched the Kingdom’s latest unlimited calling plan, drawing criticism that it contravenes minimum pricing rules introduced by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications in a 2009 prakas.

Mfone customers must top up in US$5 increments, with $3 for unlimited on-network calls for a month, while the remaining $2 applies to off-net calls, company employees at its headquarters on Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard told The Post yesterday.

The plan mirrors one introduced by rival provider Hello earlier this year, which had drawn criticism from industry players.

However, Hello Chief Executive Officer Simon Perkins said yesterday the fact that Mfone is now offering its own unlimited calling plan is “the best form of flattery.”

“They’ve copied exactly what we’ve done,” he said, though he noted some of the pricing details were different.

Perkins also pointed out that Hello offered more variety in its plans, including unlimited calling per day for 20 cents and unlimited calling between 10pm and 10am for $1.

The 20-cent plan has been “extremely popular, and people drop in and out of them when it suits their purposes,” he said. The overnight plan is largely “teenagers talking to boyfriends and girlfriends all night.”

Mfone Chief Marketing Officer Sombat Krairit did not return a request for comment by The Post yesterday, though it is believed the firm’s unlimited plan has not yet been widely advertised.

The plan attracted controversy yesterday, with some industry insiders calling the move a violation of the ministry’s 2009 pricing rules, which set a minimum price per minute for on- and off-net calls.

“Mfone have elected to follow other operators offering such deals who also contravene the regulations, and this is having a detrimental impact on the whole industry, and especially those operators trying to work within the bounds of MPTC’s framework of rules overall,” said qb Chief Executive Officer Alan Sinfield.

“Such actions are, in my opinion, desperate and short-sighted and not at all welcome,” he said yesterday. Qb had halted its so-called “all you can eat” plans when the minimum pricing prakas was enacted, he added.

Sinfield said the MPTC should use its powers to suspend certain operators’ licences if they refuse to abide by established regulations.

“I sincerely hope that MPTC take such action for the benefit of the industry as a whole.”

Some telecom officials last month said the increased usage as a result of unlimited plans often hurts network capacity. Low tariffs also likely translate into negative returns in the effort to attract customers, despite the need for profitability in order to invest in new services and coverage expansion.

Industry insiders requesting anonymity said yesterday a number of the Kingdom’s operators are in talks with the MPTC to find ways to enforce the pricing prakas. They said one such discussion consisted of some operators blocking calls from the offending companies. However, discussions are in preliminary stages and any action would be strictly monitored by the MPTC, insiders said.

Minister of Post and Telecommunications So Khun declined to comment yesterday. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TY SAMPHORS VICHEKA


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states