Mobile Users Top 20 Million, Internet Usage Still Rising

The number of mobile subscribers in Cambodia topped 20 million last year, surpassing the country’s population by about 5 million. Internet users also jumped, according to a report released Wednesday by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

The report fails to say how many Cambodians own more than one SIM card.

The report, presented Wednesday at an industry meeting at the ministry, states that mobile phone subscribers increased in one year from 19.1 million to 20.2 million.

“The [number] of people using mobile phones has increased because mobile phones have many functions that are very beneficial and are [sold at] a low price in Cambodia,” Sarak Khan, the secretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, told more than 200 officials on Wednesday at the meeting.

Cambodia currently has seven mobile phone operators. Many Cambodians purchase more than one SIM card to take advantage of deals offered by operators fighting for a greater share of the country’s oversaturated mobile market.

Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Mobile, Cambodia’s second-largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, said Wednesday he could not say whether 20 million subscribers is an accurate estimation.

“I don’t know,” Mr. Hundt said. “But during a three-month period of revenue-generating activity, we have six million subscribers.”

The ministry’s report also said Cambodian Internet users—both landline and mobile—increased from 2.7 million to 3.8 million, a 42.7 percent jump. But this increase was not as large as the jump from 320,190 users in 2010 to 1.68 million in 2011, according to the report.

The report noted that not all sub-sectors saw an increase.

Landline phone users de­creased 28 percent, from 584,475 to 420,942.

(Additional reporting by Joshua Wilwohl)

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