Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the cancellation of all contracts granting exclusive monopolies to any internet service provider in gated communities, known locally as boreys, in Phnom Penh in order to open those markets up to competition between service providers in a bid to lower prices and improve service for customers.
At the same time, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has been dealing with complaints from borey residents regarding poor mobile phone service there as well, according to minister Chea Vandeth.
Vandeth was speaking at a press conference on the ministry’s achievements over the past five years", organised by the Government Spokesperson Unit on August 4.
The minister said he has set up eight teams to inspect more than 100 boreys in Phnom Penh, of which 60 are already being worked on while the remaining ones will be dealt with in the second phase of the project.
"[Hun Sen] has ordered me to cancel all exclusive-rights or monopoly contracts for providing internet services in all boreys,” he said. “Therefore, all service providers, please listen up because the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia [TRC] will ensure this is implemented."
Vandeth singled out Borey Peng Huoth, which he said had had good cooperation and understanding about the weak internet and mobile service because even the borey owner was unhappy with the quality of service he was getting there.
He said the ministry's team went to test the mobile service in Borey Peng Huoth and saw indications that there were dead areas with no service because there were very few mobile towers placed there and there was only one company allowed to build infrastructure in the area despite plenty of land being available for more antennas.
"So we cannot let the situation continue where there is only one antenna run by one operator in that borey. We have constructed antennas ourselves that are designed to look like trees until there is enough capacity for three or four operators to install their equipment there," he said.
Vandeth noted that in the first six months of this year, the ministry had built an additional 18 antennas in the borey and after the construction of the antennas, additional operators could set up their equipment there to provide services.
According to the ministry’s report, there are currently 69 service providers operating in the telecoms sector in Cambodia, including five mobile operators.
Cambodia currently has 19,347,892 mobile subscriptions – more than the actual estimated population of 16 million as they include businesses and those with multiple accounts.