CAMBDIA'S fledgling telecommunications industry is rapidly growing into a modem,
nationwide system as foreign firms enter the market. 1995 is set to be a key
year in its development.
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
expects to add some 21,000 more telephone lines this year, according to the MPTC
Undersecretary of State Koy Kim Sea.
Up to 10,000 lines would come from
the Indonesia's Indosat telephone company, along with a total grant of 11,000
lines in Japanes and French aid. Next year, a further 20,000 lines was in the
offing from Japan.
Compared to MPTC's old, frequently broken-down system
of 3000 lines, the future for Cambodian telecommunications was looking
It currently had a total 13,000 domestic and international
telephone lines, with more on the way.
MPTC made $20 million from the
telecommunications sector last year and, with further joint ventures with
foreign companies planned, could make more this year.
international telecommunications system is run by Australian firm Telstra, which
provides international direct dial services to 200 countries from Phnom Penh
under a business cooperation contract with MPTC.
In the Telstra deal, the
government gets more than 50 per cent of the profit from the handling of
incoming telephone calls, and Telstra the remainder. Outgoing calls earn the
government 100 per cent profit, though a Telstra may soon start receiving a
Telstra senior representative Russell Stuart said the
deal was "good for the government and good for Telstra".
recently-opened $16 million Bayon satellite telecommunications center could meet
as much demand as necessary for the next 10 years, he predicted.
is also planning to expand microwave telephone services, used for
shorter-distance international calls, to Vietnam.
which signed a joint-venture contract with MPTC on Dec 29, is planning to
rehabilitate and expand the ex-UNTAC telephone system used during the election
Under the contract, MPTC gets 51 per cent of profit made and
Indosat 49 per cent, reflecting the investments made by both sides, according to
Indosat director Tjahjono Soerjodibroto said the
firm, which was investing $27 million, planned to expand domestic and
international telephone services in Phnom Penh and the provinces.
Minister of Post and Telecommunications, So Khun, said Sihanoulville, Siem Reap,
Battambang and Banteay Meanchay would have priority to be connected to the
Indosat network. He hoped this could be done by mid-1995, with other provinces
Two other foreign firms - Australia Direct and AT&T
of America-have recently stepped into the market, offering Home Country Direct
Meanwhile, there are five mobile telephone firms
operating in Phnom Penh, in joint-ventures with MPTC.
The Shinawatra firm's engineering manager, Trairat Kaewkerd, said the firm
had 2033 subscribers in the capital. It currently leased international telephone
capacity from MPTC and planned to invest $3.2 million in expanding its network
to Kompong Som and Kompong Cham this year.
Kaewkerd said the firm was not
yet profitable and had had trouble getting cooperation from MPTC.
Kim Sea acknowledged MPTC had been tardy in helping Shinawatra and would take
this into account in the future.