Extra Fees Boost Cost of Phone Lines

Though the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications earlier this month reduced the installation fee for telephone land lines to $70, labor costs and unauthorized fees have kept the price at $150.

Employees at the “Angkor” telephone office on Street 105, the ministry’s customer service arm, have told people that installation costs at least $150. Of that fee, $70 goes to the Ministry of Finance, $30 goes to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, and another $50 goes toward expediting fees, two employees said.

But charging extra money to customers is not something the telecommunications ministry condones, officials said.

“You should ask that man for his name,” MPTC Minister So Khun said, maintaining that installation costs for a non-international line under the new program should be $70—cut from $150—plus an additional $30 for material and labor. An international line should cost $150.

In the past, residents who wanted a phone line added to their house had to pay more than the original quoted price of installation, sometimes spending as much as $350.

One employee at the Angkor office said last week that a requested street for land line installation was already full, but for $50, someone on the street who hadn’t been paying his bills would lose his line. The new customer could then have that line within three days, the employee said.

But the deputy director of the national telecommunications department for the ministry said the additional $50 charge was not authorized.

“I don’t allow [customers] to pay some money more,” Nong Borang said. Installation should cost a total of $100, he said, no more and no less.

One Phnom Penh resident, who did not want to be identified, said she was glad to hear the cost had been reduced and sent an employee down to the Angkor office to inquire. Her staff member was told it would cost $150, with $50 of that used as a “processing fee.” She did not purchase the new line.



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