A lack of proper regulation, unrealistic market data and a constant stream of disputes between Cambodia‘s mobile operators will likely hinder the country’s future telecommunication regulator effectively governing the sector, according to a leading research firm.
Without the enactment of a telecommunications law, which is currectly at the Coucil of Ministers after first being drafted in 2000, the proposed Telecom Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), will have no way to settle disputes between operators, Business Monitor International (BMI) said in a quarterly analysis of the Cambodian and Lao telecommunication markets, published in June.
“A lack of a concrete, overarching regulatory framework means that the market has been clouded with uncertainties, inaccurate data and constant disputes,” according to a copy of the BMI report obtained yesterday. “The TRC will have alot on its hand to tackle, which could include past grievances, and it will require the necessary power to ensure that policies can be enforced,”the report notes.
“The Independence and competency of the new regulator can only be accurately assessed when it stakes to resolve business disputes and take concrete actions to restore stability in the overcrowded and disjointed landscape. Nevertheless, it is a positive step forward for the Cambodian telecoms industry.”
Cambodia has 10 mobile phone companies in total. The firms have accused one another of unfair business practices such as price dumping, not paying fees for operator inter-connectivity, and inflating subscriber numbers to satisfy shareholders.
The TRC was proposed by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication (MPTC) in March as a government-endorsed independent body that would regulate the sector in matters of policy and technical regulations. According to a March sub-decree from the ministry, the regulator will be responsible for enforcing regulations while role of the MPTC will be reduced to collecting revenues and association concession fee.
It is not know when the regulator will begin its work.
Phillip Wong, chief financial officer at Hello Axiata Co. Ltd., said that the view of the regulator from the operators’ standpoint is still murky since there has been no clear decision as to when it would become functional, while enforcement of any regulations has been historically weak.
“The telecoms law is stalled, so the challenge is that there is just not enough regulation, especially among those who do not want to comply with the basics. There are rules and regulations that exist, but the authorities will not enforce them, “Mr. Wong said. “People may not take this so seriously.”
Source: accordance Cambodia’s daily