MPTC cracks down on ‘unfair competition’

7 Oct 2009

Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance have promised to crack down on ‘unfair competition,’ in order to bring a dispute in the mobile market under control, according to local daily the Phnom Penh Post. In a letter sent to all wireless operators, as well as the prime minister’s office, MPTC Minister So Khun and Finance Minister Keat Chhon called on companies to ‘cease immediately any advertising, programmes and strategies for market competition, any blocking of interconnection between networks, which have caused the telecoms crisis in Cambodia.’ It is understood the crisis referred to is the dispute between CamGSM (Mobitel) and Vimplecom-owned Sotelco (Beeline), which has lead Mobitel to launch legal action against its rival over alleged price-dumping. In response, Beeline claims Mobitel has blocked interconnectivity between the two networks. Last month the MPTC set up a task force to create a new sub-decree, or prakas (edict), to address the problem.

The letter also warns that offering free calls within networks or calls across networks at a price ‘lower than the one fixed by the state’ robbed the government of tax revenues by reducing company profits, adding that any firm that violated tax law would be subject to government legal action.