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

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s