Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mobile warfare

Mobile warfare

Mobile warfare


TWO of Cambodia’s largest mobile operators – Metfone and Mfone – have blocked calls between their networks this week over a disputed US$500,000 fee payment, an official said yesterday.

The Kingdom’s second- and third-largest mobile operators respectively, as measured by government data on subscriber numbers, have taken turns blocking services since Tuesday, according to Mfone Chief Financial Officer Naruemon Sriphan.

The dispute arose over more than $500,000 in interconnectivity charges which Mfone believes was owed to it by Vietnamese military-backed Metfone, she said.

Interconnection fees are levied every time a call is made to a rival network.

Mfone claims that more Metfone subscribers had been using its network than vice-versa, due to activity from Metfone’s fixed-line “Methome” phones, resulting in the half-million-dollar fee, she said.

Earlier this month, after several months of follow-ups with regard to the money owed, Mfone informed the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications about the situation, she said.

The MPTC then sent a letter to Metfone asking for payment to avoid any service disconnection, but the warning again came without result, she said.

On Tuesday, Mfone blocked calls for a “few hours” from Metfone’s Methome fixed-line phones “as a warning”, after sending a letter to the MPTC last week to inform them of the action.

“Every step we took, we took with advice from MPTC,” said Naruemon Sriphan.

“Blocking is not good for anyone, especially for the customer. But it’s not fair to us, either, to continue providing services to the partner who never thought about paying the bill,” she said.

MPTC requested that Mfone reopen its network om Wednesday. But after unblocking calls, Mfone says, its competitor blocked all Mfone calls to the Metfone network.

The Post reporters tried without success to make cross-network calls early yesterday.

Full connectivity was restored at around 3pm yesterday, according to Naruemon Sriphan.

While Mfone has still not received the fee it claims it is owed, it hopes to collect it with support from the MPTC.

MPTC Director General Mao Chakrya declined to comment yesterday.

Metfone did not respond to written request for comment yesterday, which Mfone said was submitted during the period of blockage.

The dispute echoes a row last year that saw mobile operator Beeline accuse the Kingdom’s largest provider, Mobitel, of deliberately blocking calls.

The claims came after Mobitel officials accused Beeline of price-dumping.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the