Eight mobile operators already running with three more licences issued, say officials
- Mobitel - 012, 092, 017
- Telekom Malaysia - 015, 016, 081
- Camshin - 011, 099, 085
- Cadcomms - 013
- Excel - 018
- MetFone - 097
- Applifone - 098
- Smart Mobile - 010, 093
Due to start up:
- Sotelco venture - June 2009
- Others still unknown
THREE new mobile telecom operators will provide services in Cambodia, according to government telecommunications officials.
In an interview with the Post, Mao Chakrya, director general of the General Department at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said the arrival of three new companies was on the horizon, including two joint-venture companies - one Russian-Cambodian and the other Chinese-Cambodian.
He said he was not familiar with the details of the third company, and he would not say how soon the companies were expected to begin operations in Cambodia.
According to GSM World, an association of telecoms companies around the globe, Russian company Sotelco, with a dominant 90 percent share in a partnership with a local company, is expected to launch its mobile service in Cambodia in June.
Mao Chakrya said he was confident they would stay financially afloat.
"If there wasn't business potential for them here, they would not be investing," he said.
He expected increased competition following their arrival would push down prices for consumers.
Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun confirmed three new licences had been issued, but was weary of their contribution to the local market.
"I think Cambodia should have only three mobile service providers, but we can't limit the number we have as Cambodia is a member of the World Trade Organisation," he said.
If there wasn’t business potential ... they would not be investing.
With a population of just over 14 million, Cambodia is awash with eight telecom operators already. Cellcard Mobitel has the lion's share of the market, which was equal to 55 percent at the end of last year.
Millicom International - the company that has a stake in Cellcard Mobitel - says that the market is expected to expand rapidly.
With a density of 29 percent by the end of 2008, ownership of mobile phones is expected to increase to 46 percent by 2012, the company's annual report for 2008 said.
Following the entrance of the three new operators, the country's GSM frequencies of 900 MHz and 1800MHz would be full, preventing the arrival of new companies unless the network capacity was expanded, said Mao Chakrya.