MOBITEL is planning to launch an advanced Line of Sight (LOS) transmission service
in the first week of March that it says will be up to 25 times faster than the average
56K modem, for a fraction of the price.
The technology offers the potential of boosting Cambodia's information technology
level to that of more developed nations in the region.
By transmitting to an antenna within the line of sight of a base station, TeleSurf
uses wireless broadband to provide a permanent connection to the Internet.
There are currently two base stations in Phnom Penh, and MobiTel estimates a total
of five will service the entire city. All users will be within contact of two stations.
The Tiger Brewery, one of 100 participants in a six-week trial, was able to receive
transmissions 14km outside Phnom Penh.
Customers can be connected with a 30cm reception antenna and the required cabling,
with a capacity of between 64Kbps and 1Mbps, within 48 hours. The speed of the connection
means users in Cambodia can surf the Net easily for the first time.
"There's no waiting, no dropped lines or dialing up, and no massive download
time," said MobiTel General Manager David Spriggs.
"When you click on a page, it's there."
Neither ASDR broadband (used in the USA and Singapore), nor the optical fibre cable
laid from Thailand through Battambang to Vietnam, are suitable for widespread Internet
use in Cambodia because the country has a limited number of fixed phone lines.
After seeing the success of LOS transmission in Latin America and Eastern Europe,
MobiTel decided to speed things up, literally.
"Basically, we are leapfrogging a couple of generations of technology,"
"We are using what we believe is right for this market, and has the right kind
of costs for Cambodia."
With a permanent LOS connection users are charged for the amount of data transferred,
rather than the length of time they are connected.
A real-time connection will make chat rooms and gaming sites more readily available,
and banks and retailers will be able to use wireless broadband for credit card verification
and electronic funds transfer - a joy for expats coping with Phnom Penh's "cash
Individual users can connect to TeleSurf for around $70 a month on a three-year agreement,
and for $3,000 a month large businesses can take advantage of optimum capacity and
Following the Phnom Penh launch, Mobitel plans to extend the service to Sihanoukville
and Siem Reap in the coming months.