Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SIM sales stagnate as internet use soars

SIM sales stagnate as internet use soars

A woman organises SIM cards at a mobile phone shop in central Phnom Penh late last year.
A woman organises SIM cards at a mobile phone shop in central Phnom Penh late last year. Pha Lina

SIM sales stagnate as internet use soars

Mobile SIM card sales slowed to a crawl in 2015 while the number of new subscribers using mobile internet services leaped by 30 per cent, according to a Ministry of Telecommunications factsheet.

The report, released late last week, shows that the number of SIM card subscribers at the end of 2015 reached 20.9 million, up just 2 per cent compared to 2014. However, mobile internet usage showed a rapid increase, with 6.3 million subscribers using their mobile phones to access online content last year – nearly a third more than a year earlier.

Im Vutha, director of the regulation and dispute unit at the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia, said while SIM card ownership was nearing its saturation point, there was still room to grow in mobile internet services as millions of Cambodians upgrade to smartphones.

“SIM card subscriber growth will not be higher than the current rate,” he said. “It has reached maximum level as the number of Cambodian people is just around 15 million.”

The report shows that of the 6.4 million internet subscribers in the Kingdom, close to 99 per cent, some 6.3 million, used mobile internet services to access the web, whereas only 64,000 used fixed-line internet devices.

“Mobile internet dominates more than 98 per cent of internet subscribers and the trend will continue to growth in the future based on the tendency of people towards increased smartphone usage,” Vutha said.

He added that Cambodians’ voracious appetite for social media usage coupled with the affordable cost of mobile data leave a lot of room for growth in the sector.

According to the factsheet, Cambodia has nine mobile internet providers compared to 29 wired internet service providers. After a crackdown on more than 30 inactive internet and voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) firms in November last year, the Kingdom now has 29 internet and 26 VoIP service providers.

Regarding the Kingdom’s fibre optic network, three players – Telecom Cambodia, Viettel (Cambodia) and Cambodia Fiber Optic Cable Network – have laid more than 26,000 kilometres of cable, but not all of it is currently in use, Vutha added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the