Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

A selection of SIM cards for sale at a Phnom Penh shop.
A selection of SIM cards for sale at a Phnom Penh shop. Sovan Philong

SIM card ownership down by nearly 12%

The number of mobile phone subscribers nationwide decreased by 11.5 per cent over the last year in what regulators are describing as a rebalancing after the market reached a saturation point, pushing well beyond 100 per cent penetration.

“Market demand was fully satisfied, as it reached its peak, so it was not surprising to see the number of subscribers decrease a bit,” Im Vutha, director of the regulation and dispute unit at the Telecom Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), said yesterday.

According to TRC data, Cambodia had a total of 19.2 million mobile phone subscribers as of the end of June, down from 21.7 million a year earlier. By comparison, the Cambodian population stands at about 15 million, an indication that many subscribers owned more than one line.

Vutha said the decline in subscribers was a message to the Kingdom’s six mobile operators that “now is the time to compete on quality and service”.

Chhim Sang Heng, manager of Hak Se Phone Shop in Phnom Penh, said he has seen a noticeable reduction in new SIM card sales, while the recent consolidation of telecom companies – including Metfone’s acquisition of Beeline last year – has resulted in thousands of cancelled lines.

In addition, whereas previously many mobile users owned SIM cards from several different companies, he said many appear to be sticking just to the three main players: Smart, Metfone and Cellcard.

“The trend of selling SIM cards has slowed down, while I’ve noticed that most subscribers use only the lines of two or three operators since the telecoms consolidated.”

While the number of mobile phone lines in Cambodia has declined, TRC data show internet use continues to grow, driven in a large part by increasing smartphone ownership.

Total fixed-line internet subscribers reached 88,000 as of the end of June, compared to about 77,000 a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of mobile internet users rose to just under 7.2 million by the end of June, from about 6.2 million a year earlier.

Cambodia currently has six mobile operators, eight fixed-line operators, 33 ISPs and 18 licensed VoIP operators.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the