Frustrated by the spread of illegal Internet-based international phone calling, the government plans to make Internet-based phone service available from regular phones.
In about three months, both land line and mobile phone users will be able to make Internet-based phone calls from the “002” extension, said Koy Kim Sea, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
The procedure for making a phone call on 002 will be similar to making one at the Internet cafes scattered around Phnom Penh, Koy Kim Sea said. It will be cheaper, but may be vulnerable to the delayed transmissions and other problems still common to Internet-based service, he said.
“This makes use of new technology to enable people to save [money], of course at the expense of quality,” he said.
In the coming weeks the government will choose and negotiate an agreement with an Internet-based phone company. The per-minute charges have yet to be established, but they are still likely to be more expensive than the prices charged at Internet cafes, Koy Kim Sea said.
Koy Kim Sea estimated that 30 percent of international phone calls are now made on computers, a practice the government has outlawed because it circumvents taxes on land line and mobile calls. Koy Kim Sea estimated that the government loses “tens of thousands of dollars” a month to the Internet calls. The ministry has not decided how much it will tax the calls, he said.
Also within the coming weeks, the ministry will renew its efforts to shut down Internet phones at the cafes, he said.
The ministry currently runs its own international calling service through the 001 extension. The Royal Group’s Tele2 operates the 007 extension. Royal Group Chairman Kith Meng said his company had written the ministry to request permission to launch its own Internet-based phone service in conjunction with MPTC.
The new measure was announced Thursday, on the final day of an information technology conference.
Awareness Seminar at the Hotel InterContinental.