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Smart invests $1.4B to broaden telecom access

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Axiata Group Berhad chief executive officer Jamaludin Ibrahim met with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace on Monday. Hun Sen's Facebook page

Smart invests $1.4B to broaden telecom access

Smart Axiata announced on Tuesday that it had invested $1.4 billion of capital up until the end of last year to expand its Cambodian operations, as the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad strengthens its dominance of the Kingdom’s market.

Axiata Group Berhad chief executive officer Jamaludin Ibrahim said in a statement after a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace that the investment would introduce more advanced technologies to its Cambodian subscribers, including the high-speed 5G network.

“Smart Axiata’s investments are not only profitable but are aimed at contributing to the economic development of Cambodia as well as the Cambodian society,” Jamaludin was quoted as saying.

Hun Sen expressed his appreciation for Smart Axiata’s continued support of Cambodia’s development through contributions to various humanitarian programmes.

But he also requested that it prioritise service in rural communities, educational institutions and hospitals so that all Cambodians can benefit from the investment.

“Smart Axiata [should] consider [revising its] services for roaming abroad so that it can handle both inbound and outbound [communications]. Internet services should be available to more countries.

“By expanding the scope of its business locally and internationally, it will become more popular with the people and students as Smart Axiata sees tremendous potential in the [Kingdom’s] telecommunication sector.

“This has been reciprocated through a strong [support] from the Cambodian people, ” Hun Sen said in the statement.

Jamaludin pledged that the company would continue to contribute significantly to social issues such as education, the environment and sports, saying: “Smart Axiata will continue to expand its presence in rural areas across the Kingdom.”

Already, the company has contributed more than $8.3 million to the government’s Universal Service Obligation Fund, as well as its Capacity Building and Research and Development Fund to carry out mobile broadband infrastructure and human resource development projects.

Last year, Smart Axiata contributed nearly $374 million to the economy, accounting for some 1.5 per cent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product, the company’s 2018 Sustainability Report said.

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