Samart to Launch New System

Samart Corp is hoping to launch its digital mobile phone system by January 1999, Samart Ge­neral Manager Somchai Lert­wisettheerakul said Wednes­day.

The GSM—or Global System for Mobile—network will have a prefix of 016.

During phase one of the project the company plans to set up service in Pailin, Svay Rieng pro­vince, and along Route 5 from Phnom Penh to Kompong Chh­nang. Plans are to expand service along Route 5 past Kompong Chhnang later in the year.

Somchai would not reveal the number of subscribers Samart is hoping for, but said in the past month more than 3,000 people have already reserved a phone number with the new system. Samart’s 016 network will have both regular billing and pre-paid.

Samart’s new network would be Cambodia’s third digital system. MobiTel launched its service in 1997 and Shinawatra, Samart’s main Thai competitor, began a digital network in April.

Samart’s launch will come after numerous delays, which some Samart executives had said were due to the slowdown in the Cam­bodian economy.

The recent decision by Tele­kom Malaysia to buy Samart shares was part of the reason Sa­mart is now moving ahead with its GSM plan, Somchai said. Samart will offer cheaper rates and better service to attract new customers, he said.



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