Cash-Strapped Mfone Hands Over Subscribers to MobiTel

The Cambodian mobile operator MobiTel on Friday signed a deal with Thailand’s Mfone to take over all the company’s existing customers, Mfone said in a statement.

The move is the result of ongoing financial difficulties currently being experienced by Mfone, which saw its profits drop by half to $1.34 million during the first six months of 2012 and is currently being sued by the Norwegian energy firm Eltek Valere, which alleges the firm owes it $3.73 million in unpaid bills.

“Mfone announced today that it is migrating all its existing subscribers onto the Mobitel network as a consequence of the on-going financial difficulties experienced by Mfone in Cambodia,” the statement said.

“An agreement was signed on 11 January 2013 between Mfone and MobiTel which stipulates that MobiTel will immediately provide national roaming services in the Kingdom to all Mfone subscribers for a period of 60 days starting January 14, 2013 so that Mfone subscribers will not experience any interruption in accessing services,” the statement adds.

Thaicom Public Company Ltd., the majority shareholder in Mfone, devalued the company by $1.31 million in May, and expressed its wish to sell the mobile firm.

On top of the ongoing lawsuit with Eltek Valere, two other mobile phone companies based in Cambodia have also threatened lawsuits over unpaid interconnection fees.

As a result, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has issued an injunction to Mfone stipulating that it is not allowed to sell any of its assets until its legal issues are put to bed.

Representatives from Royal Group, which owns MobiTel, and Mfone could not be reached.

As part of the deal, Mfone subscribers will be given free Mobitel SIM cards to enable them to migrate to the MobiTel network, while existing numbers and prefix will be kept the same.

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