Samart Debuts Digital Network

Cambodia Samart Communi­cation Co officially launched its new GSM digital mobile phone network on Wednesday, after a protracted battle with MobiTel on a prepaid billing system using scratch cards.

“The service expansion by Samart to 12 provinces and muni­cipalities and various areas…es­pecially along Highway 4 from Phnom Penh to Siha­noukville, all illustrate the company’s strong commitment for operation in Cambodia,” Prime Mini­ster Hun Sen said at the ceremony in Phnom Penh.

The firm is a joint venture between Samart Corp in Thai­land and Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

The local company, which first started offering service in 1992, has invested $10 million in the new network and plans to invest another $6.7 million in expanding coverage nationwide, according to Samart General Manager Som­chai Lertwisettheerakul.

“I believe Samart GSM will pave the way for better mobile communications services in Cambodia that has long been waiting by many people in this country,” said Tuan Haji Nasrud­din, director of the Malaysian company. The network complies with the International Tele­com­muni­­cations Union standard GSM system.

Telecommunications Minister So Khun said that Cambodia Samart has more than 23,000 subscribers in the prefix 015 analog network and some 4,000 customers in the 016 GSM system.

Samart’s new system is the third digital system in Cambodia. MobiTel launched its service in 1997 and Thai-owned Shinawatra began a digital network last year.

When Samart earlier this year planned to launch a prepaid bil­ling system similar to Mobi­Tel’s, the competitor filed a lawsuit. The Supreme Court lifted an injunction against Samart in late October.

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