The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has warned the public to cease using illegal Thai mobile phone services inside Cambodia, officials said yesterday.
Thai mobile telephone signals are being relayed as far as 100 km inside Cambodia’s territory, according to Chem Sangva, director general of telecommunications inspections at the ministry.
Mr Sangva said there were 34 illegal Thai transmission antennas in Siem Reap province, 35 in Battambang province and 28 in Banteay Meanchey and Pursat provinces. Just one illegal transmission antenna costs the government between $700 and $1,000 in lost tax revenue per month, he said.
“Cambodians must stop using the illegal Thai operations,” Mr Sangva said. “This is a matter of national security too. If there is a terrorist or kidnapping, we cannot take proper action if they were using a Thai phone.”
Mr Sangva said the Thai operators had installed their signal towers in Thailand close to the border, and Cambodian businessmen were illegally installing repeater signal antennas inside Cambodia.
The illegal signal relay operations were located as far inside Cambodia as Siem Reap province’s Puok and Kralanh district and Pursat’s Bakann district.
Last week, 16 antennas in Siem Reap and more than 35 antennas in Banteay Meanchey were taken down.
“If people continue the illegal operations, we plan to take them to court,” Mr Sangva said.
Alan Sinfield, CEO of Cambodian telecom company QB, said transmission of telephone signals across country borders was unscrupulous but not uncommon. However, Mr Sinfield said it was unexpected the operations would be as far as 100 km into Cambodian territory.
“Really, the only solution is for a government-led initiative,” said Mr Sinfield. “Cambodia needs to talk to the other government and tell them to stop their telephone companies’ actions.”
Minister of Post and Telecommunication So Khun said his ministry continued to work with local authorities to crack down on all illegal Thai phone operations.