Applifone Joins Competitive Cambodian Phone Market

Kazakhstan-based Applifone Co Ltd is leasing technology from Swed­ish telecommunications giant Ericsson to create Star-Cell, the new kid on Cambodia’s block of mo­bile service providers.

Officially launched Wednesday, the company is expected to invest up to $150 million by 2017, said Chief Marketing Officer Nataliya Skopina at a press conference last week.

Star-Cell said it would provide customers with services such as call waiting, call forwarding, conference calling, SMS, voice mail and fax transmission. The company is banking on prospering from a growing market.

“Cambodia has more and more middle class [people],” Star-Cell COO Adam Cabot said.

“We now have a population of 15 million…and people will need phone services,” he added.

Indeed, Cambodia is home to 1.17 million mobile phone users compared to only around 30,000 land­line users, according to So Khun, minister of posts and tel­ecommunications.

Skopina said Star-Cell has al­ready invested $25 million in the venture, a figure expected to reach $40 million by next year and $150 million within the next 10 years.

Star-Cell’s 098 service is the fourth mobile phone provider to come into Cambodia’s burgeoning market after MobiTel (012), Cam­Shin (011) and Hello GSM (016).

Star-Cell expects to begin in Phnom Penh and expand into Siha­n­oukville, Battambang and other large towns such as Siem Reap and Serei Saophoan in Banteay Mean­chey province within a year.

So Khun welcomed the increase in the number of players in Cambo­dia’s growing mobile services industry, saying that stronger competition would lead to lower prices and better service for consumers.

“We are a member of the WTO [World Trade Organization], we can’t stop any new businesses,” he added.

David Spriggs, general manager for MobiTel, said MobiTel has no qualms over the new market en­trant. “We are already using the latest technology,” he said. “We are number one.”


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