South Korean technology companies are set to propel Cambodia further on its way into
the information age.
Database management company UniSQL has confirmed that all 27 government ministries
will soon be linked to form a state-of-the-art e-government.
SLD Telecom, meanwhile, confirmed it was looking to provide space-age mobile phones
to customers in the Kingdom by the end of the year.
Under an agreement with ASEAN, Cambodia is obliged to develop and maintain e-government.
UniSQL will provide the government's administration information system, which includes
linking ministries through broadband internet.
"That will allow document approval and document exchange between ministries,
as well as land, vehicle and residence registration," said Leewood Phu, secretary-general
of NIDA, the government's technology coordinator.
The project is designed to promote transparency in government, as well as improve
its ability to track and tax people. Managing director of UniSQL, Kang Mun Cheol,
predicted the development would prove "significant".
UniSQL's $20 million project, financed with a soft loan from the South Korean government,
should be finished by the end of next year. SLD Telecom said its mobile phone business,
using the 019 dialing code, would be operational within a year.
In January the government awarded SLD Telecom a 35-year license to provide a CDMA
(Code Division Multiple Access) service network. SLD Telecom is a joint venture between
three South Korean telecoms companies: SK Telecom, LG Electronics and Tong-Ah Telecom.
An employee of SK Telecom, who did not want to be named, said the company wanted
to provide the latest technology. He bristled at an earlier report stating the group
would invest $88 million in the project.
"The capital has yet to be determined. We can't forecast because the market
is changing so quickly," he said, adding that SLD Telecom "might be the
biggest company in Cambodia".
Bringing a CDMA network to Cambodia would significantly upgrade the country's mobile
phone technology. It boasts three times the capacity of GSM (Global System for Mobile
Communications), currently the most advanced mobile phone service network here.
"CDMA is more advanced because it can cover more area with a service tower,"
said the employee. "Also voice quality is more advanced and it can be upgraded
to include the internet."
CDMA technology in South Korea has evolved to a wider band known as WCDMA, also known
as CDMA2001X. Some mobile phones there have several different high tech functions,
ranging from video to banking. SK Telecom said the chances of such phones coming
to Cambodia depended on demand and, for example, the ability to run advanced banking
Leewood Phu applauded the arrival of more advanced mobile phones. He welcomed CDMA
and would be even more pleased if the company provided WCDMA.
SLD Telecom is also licensed in Vietnam, where its branch office provides CDMA technology.
It hopes to set up CDMA networks in other Southeast Asian countries soon.