Despite its status as a lesser developed country, Cambodia's efforts to expand and upgrade its telecom infrastructure are bearing fruit.
According to Research & Markets, there were between eight and ten mobile operators vigorously competing with each other in a market segment that was growing at a rapid rate. A process of rationalisation followed, reducing the number of operators to only six. By 2018, compared to other Asian nations, Cambodia has very low fixed line and fixed-broadband penetration and low mobile broadband penetration.
The number of fixed telephone lines in Cambodia is slowly declining from a small base as the mobile segment continues to expand and fixed broadband penetration remains very low and under-developed. Over the past five years, the market has increased moderately from a very small base. Fixed broadband penetration is predicted to grow very strongly over the next five years from this level.
The Cambodia market is currently dominated with low-quality residential broadband services. SINET, a Cambodian ISP specialising in the business and enterprise sector, began to address this by announcing the rollout of a nationwide FTTH network.
The mobile subscriber market peaked in 2015; however, since then penetration has fallen due to a maturing market as well as market consolidation amongst the mobile operators and stricter implementation of laws regarding SIM card registration. Over the next five years to 2023, the market will move back to positive growth but at a relatively slow rate.
Cambodia is well on the way on preparing for the rollout of 5G services. The country’s government has entered into a deal with Huawei to roll out 5G mobile infrastructure.
The country’s mobile broadband has grown sharply over the past five years from a small base driven by a mature mobile market. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023 but at a declining rate. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they further roll out their 4G networks and eventually launch 5G networks.