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Small telecoms’ leadership unsettled

Small telecoms’ leadership unsettled

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Beeline mobile phone mascot stands in front of the Royal Palace, demonstrating how to use the latest models in May 2009. Photograph: Sovan Philong/Phnom Penh Post

Leadership at two of Cambodia’s smallest telecom operators appeared rocky this week.

Beeline, owned by VimpelCom, one of the world’s largest mobile operators, has announced another change in its top management, while Mfone, majority owned by Thaicom, has been without an in-country chief executive for about nine months.

Said Abbadi, former CEO at a Kurdistani telecom, took Beeline’s general director spot in mid-July, according to a company press release issued last week. He stepped in for Siddhanta Kothari, who took over only two months earlier after the unannounced exit of the company’s former top spot.

Kothari joined Beeline Cambodia for a “specific transitional period”, the company’s media specialist Nhem Socheata said in an email yesterday.

In March, VimpelCom showed it had overvalued its Cambodian and Vietnam markets by about US$527 million.

The Amsterdam-based company sold off its assets in Vietnam a month later and rumours circulated of a Cambodian sale in Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“Nothing has changed” at Mfone, Atip Rittaporn, managing director of Mfone’s holding company, Shenington Investments, said yesterday. Mfone’s CEO stepped down at the end of October last year.

Although a successor was originally appointed, Atip Rittaporn has been the acting head of the company.

Minister of Cambodia’s Posts and Telecommunications So Khun said the days of small telecom operations in the Kingdom were numbered.

“For the small companies, there is no room for them anymore,” he said yesterday. “There is only room for big companies that bring new technology, such as [fourth-generation] services.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Weinland at [email protected]

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