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Mobile subscribers exceed population

Mobile subscribers exceed population

Cambodia's mobile subscribers surpassed the country's estimated population in November, according to data obtained yesterday by the Post.

The Kingdom had 14.96 million subscribers in November, the data showed. The CIA World Factbook estimated Cambodia's population at 14.7 million people in July.

Cambodia telecoms operator Smart Mobile yesterday said that its subscribers exceeded 2 million in January, making the company the Kingdom's third largest provider by subscriber numbers after Metfone and Mobitel.

Coverage expansion onto a nationwide level in January accounted for the increase in Smart users, according to a company statement.

The data obtained by the Post showed Smart with 1.59 million subscribers as of November, or the market's No 4 spot. Hello Axiata held the No 3 spot in November with 1.67 million subscribers.

Metfone claimed 7.35 million subscribers in November, an increase of about 28 per cent since May, the data showed. Mobitel subscriber numbers  have been at 2.9 million since May.

Smart CEO Thomas Hundt said yesterday that it was normal for subscriber numbers to exceed the population.

“Generally speaking, it is a global tendency that mobile penetration rates go beyond 100 per cent,” he said via email, adding that Vietnam and Dubai had a penetration rate of more than 150 per cent.

Cambodia would likely hit a rate of more than 150 per cent due to continuous growth in the sector and the use of devices such as tablets, he said.

Hello CEO Simon Perkins said yesterday that reported subscribers numbers were questionable because the definition of an active subscriber varied between operators.

Some analysts put the actual market for mobile services at around 7.5 million users, the Post reported last year.