Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

A selection of SIM cards for sale at a Phnom Penh shop.
A selection of SIM cards for sale at a Phnom Penh shop. Sovan Philong

SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

The number of mobile phone subscribers nationwide decreased by 11.5 per cent over the last year in what regulators are describing as a rebalancing after the market reached a saturation point, pushing well beyond 100 per cent penetration.

“Market demand was fully satisfied, as it reached its peak, so it was not surprising to see the number of subscribers decrease a bit,” Im Vutha, director of the regulation and dispute unit at the Telecom Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), said yesterday.

According to TRC data, Cambodia had a total of 19.2 million mobile phone subscribers as of the end of June, down from 21.7 million a year earlier. By comparison, the Cambodian population stands at about 15 million, an indication that many subscribers owned more than one line.

Vutha said the decline in subscribers was a message to the Kingdom’s six mobile operators that “now is the time to compete on quality and service”.

Chhim Sang Heng, manager of Hak Se Phone Shop in Phnom Penh, said he has seen a noticeable reduction in new SIM card sales, while the recent consolidation of telecom companies – including Metfone’s acquisition of Beeline last year – has resulted in thousands of cancelled lines.

In addition, whereas previously many mobile users owned SIM cards from several different companies, he said many appear to be sticking just to the three main players: Smart, Metfone and Cellcard.

“The trend of selling SIM cards has slowed down, while I’ve noticed that most subscribers use only the lines of two or three operators since the telecoms consolidated.”

While the number of mobile phone lines in Cambodia has declined, TRC data show internet use continues to grow, driven in a large part by increasing smartphone ownership.

Total fixed-line internet subscribers reached 88,000 as of the end of June, compared to about 77,000 a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of mobile internet users rose to just under 7.2 million by the end of June, from about 6.2 million a year earlier.

Cambodia currently has six mobile operators, eight fixed-line operators, 33 ISPs and 18 licensed VoIP operators.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180