The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications’ decision to suspend the licence of prominent internet service provider (ISP) Opennet will not affect the plans and services for existing customers, according to ministry secretary of state So Visothy.
Opennet, whose legal name is King Technologies Co Ltd, racked up more than $6 million in debt to the state over the 2017-2019 period, of which it paid just over $1.3 million as of the February 17 due date set by the ministry.
Visothy told The Post that, at the time of the licence suspension, the ministry ordered Opennet not to provide services to new customers, or sign business contracts with partner companies.
“The ministry will take action in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence, as well as applicable laws and regulations, so that Opennet can repay its debt and minimise impact on consumers,” he said.
Action taken against the company is chiefly outlined in Article 78 of the Law on Telecommunications, in the section on penalty provisions.
Visothy affirmed that with 38 similarly licensed companies currently operating in Cambodia, the suspension of Opennet’s licence will not significantly affect competitive market conditions, prices or options for Internet access.
Despite mounting concerns among its customers over the fate of their internet services, Opennet has yet to issue a statement as of press time.
The senior telecoms official said the ministry had ordered Opennet for more than half a year to pay its remaining debt to the state, instructions that the company chose to ignore.
The telecoms ministry and the Ministry of Economy and Finance on February 10 jointly issued a final notice to the ISP, giving it seven days to pay up, which it failed to do.
According to Visothy, the licence would be reinstated if the firm pays off all debts owed to the state.
In 2020, the number of internet users in Cambodia amounted to 8.86 million, or 52.6 per cent of the total population, according to a report by Canada-based social media management platform Hootsuite.
That year, social media users numbered 12 million, or 71.3 per cent of the population, and mobile service users totalled 21.18 million, or 125.8 per cent of the population. These figures imply a population of more than 16.8 million, which is higher than official estimates.