Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom moves towards higher tech

Kingdom moves towards higher tech

Kingdom moves towards higher tech

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

services.

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.

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