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Monday, November 16, 2009

Cambodian mobile customer base will grow to almost 6.23mn at the end of 2009

Cambodia and Laos Telecommunications Report Q4 2009 - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com

http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Summary-Market-Report/cambodia-and-laos-telecommunications-report-q4-2009-166982.asp

The latest update on the telecoms markets in Cambodia and Laos includes new regulatory and operator data on the size of these two countries’ mobile subscriber, fixed-line and internet access markets at the end of March 2009. Based on the available data, we have made several revisions to our five-year growth forecasts for these markets.

Based on data published by Cambodia’s leading mobile operators
, the report calculates that the Cambodian mobile customer base grew by 15.5% in the first three months of 2009. By the end of March, Cambodia had almost 4.6mn mobile users, equivalent to a penetration rate of around 30%. In the first few months of 2009, Cambodia witnessed the launch of commercial services by three new mobile
network operators.

These were Vietnam’s Viettel, which launched commercial operations in February, Smart Mobile, which commenced GSM operations in March, and Sotelco, which launched services under the Beeline banner in May. Sotelco was acquired by Russian operator VimpelCom in July 2008 from Altimo at a cost of US$28mn for a 90% stake. VimpelCom has pledged around US$200mn to be spent in its Cambodian network in the first three to four years following its commercial launch.

The presence of nine mobile operators in Cambodia is thought to have significant implications for the development of the sector. Firstly, mobile subscriber growth appears to be accelerating as the level of competition increases. Indeed, early indications suggest that 2009 will see much stronger subscriber growth than in 2008. BMI now predicts that the Cambodian mobile customer base will grow to almost 6.23mn at the end of 2009. Our new forecast envisages growth of over 62% in 2009, dropping to 42.5% in 2010.

In neighbouring Laos, recent developments point to the possibility of an increasingly dynamic mobile market in the months ahead. As noted in our previous report, recent months saw the launch of commercial operations by Vietnam’s Viettel, which will operate in Laos under the Star Telecom brand as part of a joint venture with the Laotian government. Meanwhile, in September, it was announced that Russia’s VimpelCom had agreed to acquire a 78% stake in Millicom Lao from Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular. Although the completion of the acquisition will require regulatory approval, this is expected to be forthcoming before the end of the year. The report predicts that Laos’ active mobile subscriber base will surpass the 2mn subscriber mark by the end of 2009.

Cambodia and Laos respectively sit in 13th and 15th position in the latest set of business environment ratings for the Asia Pacific region. The two countries generally score below average for the Asia Pacific region. Nevertheless, they continue to perform better than regional neighbours Thailand and Vietnam. As a result of having a more competitive sector, Cambodia continues to have a higher score than Laos in the telecoms market category. .

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