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Watchdog Eyes Telecom, ISP Licenses

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
C-Link ISP offices in Phnom Penh.KT / Fabien Mouret

The Telecom Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) has called on 34 telecom operators and Internet service providers (ISPs) to submit their business performance reports by the end of this month to ensure they are in compliance with their licensing agreements, officials said yesterday.

The move is intended to result in the cancellation of inactive licenses, officials said, adding that this will bring greater clarity to the telecom sector and create more confidence among existing operators who intend to expand. 

They said that the TRC has found that some companies are not fully complying with the terms of their licenses. Im Vutha, director of the regulation and dispute unit at the TRC, said the regulator had told 34 companies holding 42 licenses in total to submit the reports so that it could determine whether their operations adhered to their licenses. This number excludes companies that have already submitted reports.
“First, we want to ensure governance over licensing and that the licensee is implementing its business in accordance with the terms and conditions of their license,” Mr. Vutha said. “Second, we want to open the room for new investors into this sector, and third to follow up on the license conditions according to the TRC’s roles and function,” he added. 

Companies that fail to submit the reports by the end of the month will have their licenses canceled, he said, citing an Article in the terms of conditions of the licenses that states that if the licensee does not commence operations within one year after signing it the license is “null and void.”

Mr. Vutha also said the TRC is looking for feedback from operators and ISPs about their businesses so that it can encourage their expansion.

He said the TRC had made such an announcement three times before and that this would be the final one. 

A total of 31 ISP licenses have been issued and 22 VoIP licenses have been issued as of the end of August, according to government data. 

At the end of August Cambodia had six mobile phone operators, 31 ISPs, and two fixed-line operators. The number of mobile phone subscribers reached 21 million and Internet subscriptions increased from 3.86 million in 2013 to 5.8 million in 2015, according to the TRC.

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