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BMI View: The Cambodian and Laotian telecoms markets are similar in several ways. Both countries
have a relatively well-developed mobile sector, although prepaid subscriptions are the norm, resulting in
low ARPU levels. Their fixed-line industries are still expected to experience growth at least until 2016 but
mobile substitution is becoming an increasing threat, especially when operators step up their rural
expansion plans. The mobile-over-fixed scenario is also likely to play out in the broadband segment,
considering the lower cost associated with mobile broadband products and services.
Cambodia's mobile subscriber forecast has been upgraded following new data. We expect about
30mn subscribers by 2016, although the actual number would be lower in light of inactive
subscriptions and multiple SIM ownership.
We expect muted growth in both Cambodia and Laos' fixed-line market due to the substitution
threat from mobile services. We forecast their fixed-line penetrations to reach 5.1% and 2.6% in
Adoption of fixed broadband services is forecast to remain slow in light of a lack of network
coverage and high cost barriers. By 2016, the fixed broadband penetration rates are expected to
reach 0.9% and 4.5% in Cambodia and Laos respectively.
Key Trends & Developments
After more than one and a half years since the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia
announced in February 2011 that it was looking at the formation of a regulator, the ministry finally
announced in September 2012 the establishment of the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia.
In August 2012, Lao Telecommunications entered into a partnership deal with Thailand's state-owned
telecoms operator CAT Telecom, reports the Lao News Agency. The deal is designed to offer
international leased line services through multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). The networks of the
firms are linked along common borders between the two countries, thereby offering services to link sites
of business clients to branches and trade partners overseas through MPLS.
Cambodia (Telecoms Rating score of 42.4) and Laos (41.4) were ranked 15th and 17th respectively in
BMI's Asia Pacific Telecoms Risk/Reward Ratings.