Cambodia’s telecoms operators have allegedly voiced opposition to a draft law from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Cambodia (MPTC) which states that no company can operate infrastructure assets and also provide retail services. According to a report by the Phnom Penh Post, if the draft legislation is approved, telecoms operators that choose to retain their retail operations will be forced to sell off their network assets and rely on government-controlled infrastructure providers. The draft law also reportedly states that all telecom licences will be reassessed on new criteria, and some companies could be forced to hand back their existing permits. In addition, the Post cites a section of the draft law as saying that ‘to ensure the effective security, national stability and public order, the minister of the MPTC has the right to order operators to transfer their systems, which control their telecom operations, to the Ministry.’
Alan Sinfield, CEO of mobile operator Cambodia Advance Communications (qb), commented that the draft law ‘contains a number of extremely concerning articles, which the government has not shown any of the mechanics for their design or implementation.’ Meanwhile, MPTC secretary Ek Vandy was quoted as saying that the ministry was ‘working hard to make the law more flexible to the recent situation and be [compliant] with the international standard’, while adding that the draft is in the final stage of development. When that is complete, it will be submitted to the National Assembly for final approval, although Vandy said he did not expect the MPTC to implement the new law before the end of this year.