Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry to boost telco rules

Ministry to boost telco rules

Ministry to boost telco rules

120213_09

The Cambodian government has approved the establishment of a regulatory body for telecommunications, a sector where lax or non-existent rules have led to frequency and pricing disputes, insiders said.

Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post
Telecom Cambodia office along Monivong Blvd.

The Cambodia Telecom Regulator, which Prime Minister Hun Sen approved in a draft sub-decree on Friday, will aim to make rules clearer and more transparent, Minister of Posts and Telecommunication So Khun said.

“The establishment of CTR will improve the telecom sector’s present management system by separating the functional roles of the Ministry of Post and Telecom,” a press release from the ministry stated.

The regulator will become a public entity authorised by the government, with autonomy over technical and administrative controls, as well as establishment, operations, and usage of network and telecom services, the press release said.

Industry leaders said the regulator is a much-welcomed step for Cambodia’s telecommunications. “We have been waiting for this for a long time,” CEO of Mekong Net Sok Channda said.  “Previously, it had been difficult to do business because we didn’t have an exact law.”

After Mekong Net bought a frequency license for WiMax services in 2005, the ministry continued to sell licenses for that frequency, Sok Channda said. The result was overlapping license claims from multiple ISP providers.

The lack of clear regulation has been a persistent problem in the sector.

In January 2010, the ministry granted a frequency licence to Star Digital TV that overlapped with several other providers, the Post reported at the time. In the row, two companies’ licenses were revoked, reportedly without compensation.

Mekong Net has submitted claims to the ministry in the past, all of which have gone unanswered, Sok Channda said.

Kay Lot, the operations manager for Mobitel, said he supported the initiative to resolve pricing disputes in the sector.

“It is a positive development in the telecom sector to have established a transparent telecom law that finally makes clear distinctions between the ministry and regulators,” he said, adding that the new laws would encourage potential investors and increase confidence. Mobitel accused other mobile providers of price dumping in September 2009, the Post reported. Earlier that year, the United Nations Development Programme said Cambodia’s mobile market needed more regulation to prevent industry malpractice.

Government statistics showed 13 million people, representing 91 per cent of Cambodia’s total population, are subscribers to mobile-phone and fixed-phone services, with roughly 680,000 internet subscribers.

Numbers obtained last month by the Post showed 14.9 million mobile subscribers, or more than the total population of the country.

Service providers in Cambodia have long decried subscriber-counting practices and standards, saying that each company has a different standard for what constitutes an active user.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden