Sotelco ‘Boom’ tariff dispute rumbles on

4 Sep 2009

Cambodia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Mobitel, has criticised rival Sotelco’s failure to raise the tariffs of its controversial ‘Boom’ promotion, reports local newspaper the Phnom Penh Post. Earlier this week Vimpelcom-owned Sotelco, which operates under the Beeline banner, said it would stop accepting new users on a tariff that has provoked price-dumping accusations, but customers already signed up to the cellco’s USD0.05 per minute any-network promotion would be able to continue using the offer. However, referring to a meeting last month between the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) and the two cellcos, in which Sotelco reportedly agreed to raise its tariffs to USD0.06 per minute, Mobitel said that Beeline had not fulfilled its part of the deal. ‘The compromise that was reached between all the telcos and Beeline was that Beeline would cease selling below cost by 1 September,’ said Mark Hanna, CFO of Mobitel owner the Royal Group, adding, ‘If this is not the case, then they are going back on their commitments, and the situation will not have changed as far as we – and probably the other telcos – are concerned.’ In turn, Sotelco has accused Mobitel of blocking interconnection between the two networks while the dispute has dragged on.