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More investors plug in to Kingdom’s online growth

People surf the internet at a cafe in Phnom Penh late last year.
People surf the internet at a cafe in Phnom Penh late last year. Hong Menea

More investors plug in to Kingdom’s online growth

Cambodia's fixed-line internet services market continues to attract new players despite limited infrastructure and a crowded playing field, new data show.

The Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) issued four licences to new internet service providers (ISPs) and two to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers since the start of the year, bringing the total number of ISPs and VoIP operators to 33 and 18, respectively.

Im Vutha, director of the TRC’s regulation and dispute unit, said the new entries to the market show that it is still attractive to investors as many areas of the country are poorly served by existing infrastructure.

“There is still room for customer growth in the market and with increased investment, the user base could expand in remote areas where there is limited internet access,” he said yesterday.

Internet use continues to grow steadily, with the number of fixed-line subscriptions reaching 88,000 as of end-June, a 15 per cent year-on-year increase. However, the growth is greatly overshadowed by mobile internet, with more than 7 million mobile phone subscribers currently having access to the internet through their phone handsets, according to TRC data.

Keuk Meng Leang, director of ISP Maximum Business Information Technology (MaxBIT), said the popularity of internet services such as social media and online shopping could incentivise investors to expand fixed-line networks to reach a wider customer base.

“We have seen the popularity of e-commerce and social media in Cambodia, especially amongst younger generations,” he said.

Leang said opportunities lie in the relatively low quality of internet services compared to neighbouring countries.

“This provides investors with an opportunity to bring better technology to the market,” he said.

In addition to granting new licences, the TRC also revoked eight ISP and three VoIP licences since the start of the year after their operators failed to meet their contractual obligations, according to Vutha.

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