MPTC urges cellcos to share infrastructure

23 Nov 2009

Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun has called for Cambodia’s nine mobile operators to share infrastructure in order to reduce costs and the impact on the environment, local daily the Phnom Penh Post reports. To this end, the government has awarded Tower Master Cambodia a 35-year licence to build shared mobile infrastructure across the country. The company is 80% owned by an unnamed Malaysian firm, with the remaining 20% taken by Ung Veasna, the president of the new firm. The first stage of the project will see the company invest USD20 million in the construction of 100 joint antennas, with a total 4,500 planned in the future.

The government is currently working on a draft telecoms law which includes Article 50(b) stating that ‘a licensee shall share the facilities with other licensees’. The clause has raised concerns from some mobile operators, which are investing millions in expanding their networks nationwide. The reports adds that Mobitel is spending USD350 million on a three-year rural expansion programme after the signing of a USD100 million loan secured through the International Finance Corporation. Vietnamese military-run operator Viettel, which operates in Cambodia under the Metfone banner, said the firm would activate an additional 3,000 base receiver stations by the end of this month as it targets coverage of nearly 95% of the population.