The Cambodia - Telecoms, Mobile, Internet & Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
Despite its status as a least developed country and remaining one of the poorer countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s efforts to expand and upgrade its telecom infrastructure are bearing fruit. There was very little infrastructure remaining from before the tumultuous Khmer Rouge days. As a result, Cambodia bypassed rebuilding the fixed-line market and quickly launched into alternative technologies, jump-starting its telecommunications infrastructure with digital technology. Not surprisingly, mobile services have completely overwhelmed the market. By early 2009, there were nine mobile operators vigorously competing with each other in a market segment that was growing at an annual rate of more than 50%. There were 4.3 million mobile subscribers (penetration 29%) in the country by March 2009. The market was still in a very strong growth phase, as evidenced by the keenness shown by foreign operators seeking to be part of it.
Some limited fixed-line growth had earlier come about through investment under foreign assistance, but this has mainly benefited Phnom Penh and geographical coverage has not increased significantly since that effort in the 1990s. The number of fixed-line services was relatively static at around 40,000 by 2008. In the absence of any real fixed-line growth, mobile telephone services continue to completely dominate the overall telecom market in Cambodia, with mobiles representing more than 99% of the total number of telephone services in the country. This disparity has been growing more significant each year.
The expansion of Internet services has also been overshadowed by the mobile phenomenon. In fact Internet take-up remains disturbingly low, one of the lowest penetrations in the region. Of course, the limited fixed line infrastructure has been a major inhibiting factor in the roll-out of both dial-up and ADSL Internet services. One encouraging feature has been the general availability of Internet access in provincial towns.
It is worthwhile noting that wireless technology has been especially advantageous for Cambodia in achieving rapid network rollout and replacement of a fixed network badly damaged by 20 years of war. In addition to the thriving mobile networks, Wireless Local Loop has been useful for rapid provision of a limited number of fixed-line services. However, while Cambodia has exemplified the fact that WLL offers a viable option for rapidly expanding telecom access in developing countries with low levels of fixed infrastructure, the potential of this technology has yet to be fully exploited in the country.