The Cambodian government has called for further foreign investment in the country’s mobile market. “We want more foreign firms because we want a better service, cheaper, and higher quality,” telecoms minister So Khun told reporters at a seminar on mobile phone technology this week, reports Reuters. He added that the government was currently looking at extending mobile networks across the country in a bid to help connect those living in remote areas, particularly those in parts of the country still covered with land mines from the country’s civil war a decade ago. “We want the existing companies to set up more antennas, but don’t build them near or on historic sites,” Khun added.
According to Reuters, Cambodia has a population of about 14 million, 80 percent of whom live in rural areas. According to Wireless Intelligence data, Cambodia had 3.7 million mobile connections by 1Q09 via six mobile operators, which all have some form of existing foreign ownership. The market is dominated by Mobitel, which controls almost 60 percent of the market. The operator – which is majority-owned by Millicom – recently received US$100 million in investment from a consortium led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector lending arm of the World Bank. The funding is being used to expand Mobitel’s network coverage and services, particularly in rural areas.