More than 330,700 SIM cards were registered during the first three months of the year, while the number of mobile internet users went up by nearly 490,000, according to the latest report from the Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia (TRC).
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The number of landline phone users decreased by 4,791, while fixed internet subscribers grew by 27,688, TRC said
According to the report, the number of mobile phone connections is now equivalent to 121.2 percent of the country’s population while mobile internet users represent 85.6 percent of all Cambodians.
TRC spokesman Im Vutha said the number of internet users keeps increasing every year but growth in the number of mobile phone connections is decelerating.
“We see that the number of mobile phone SIM card users increased only slightly because now there are more SIM cards than people in the country, so the market is saturated,” Mr Vutha said.
According to the report, there are now 19.7 million mobile phone connections in the country, while the country’s population is 16.2 million
“The opposite happens for internet users. We see yearly increases of 15 to 20 percent, which means that the market still has room to grow.”
Mr Vutha noted that internet service is generally only available in urban centres.
“Because the Internet is growing fast, we see a lot of investment in the sector, even in 5G,” Mr Vutha said. “But we are still lacking basic infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, so we need investment in these locations.”
Figures from TRC showed that internet users (fixed and mobile) reached 13.6 million by the end of 2018, up from 20,402 subscribers in 2008.
There are now six mobile service providers in Cambodia – Cellcard, Smart Axiata, Metfone, Seatel, Cootel, and qb – and 34 internet service providers.
Asked if there are too many mobile service providers, Mr Vutha said that competition is good for customers as it puts downward pressure on fares and forces companies to come up with offers.