Tough Telecom Market Sees qb Downsize

Mobile phone operator qb has shuttered “a number” of retail showrooms in an effort to improve its business in Cambodia’s oversaturated telecommunications market, the company confirmed Wednesday.

And former employees have also revealed the telecom—which is operated by Cambodia Advance Communications Ltd. (CAC)—has lost nearly half its workforce.

CAC chief marketing officer Michael Fitzpatrick said in an email that Cambodia’s telecom market is “extremely challenging.”

“We have to be flexible and nimble in the ways in which we respond to the numerous challenges of doing business here,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.

The changes would have no adverse effect on qb’s customers, he added.

“The most significant recent change has been the introduction of a new sales and distribution strategy which has provided qb with a wider and stronger footprint for our point of sale outlets. This rationalization has resulted in the closure of a number of our less effective qb retail showrooms,” he continued.

Mr. Fitzpatrick declined to provide further details about the shop closures and would not confirm that staff had been laid off.

However, past employees said Wednesday they were served with termination papers in late May as a result of the company’s sluggish growth in the market.

“Normally, when the company doesn’t make income, they will need to reduce costs from departments,” said Sim Ung, a former procurement officer at qb’s headquarters on Monivong Boulevard. “More importantly, there are not many customers using the qb network.”

Mr. Ung, and other former employees who did not want to give their names, said about 40 percent of the company’s employees had left.

According to government figures, qb, which entered the market in 2008, ranks seventh out of Cambodia’s eight mobile telecommunications operators for customer numbers.

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