the world is in the process of improving the mobility system, to assure an ubiquitous connectivity.
we can ask the same question which level of mobility system available in Cambodia today?
there are 9 mobile phone operators in Cambodia, which i would say it’s a bit too many for such a small country like Cambodia.
Find out more details at IceBreaker blog: Cambodia Mobile Phone Operators, he got a very nice collection and useful information about the current Mobile Network in Cambodia. It would help you to answer to the commune questions you would ask if your mobile phone can work or not when you travel in Cambodia.
to be brief, if you phone support GSM 900/1800, it should not have any problem. i have used Iphone first generation for a while, it work perfectly in Cambodia. so there’s no major problem to bring your phone and buy a Sim card here locally to connect to your digital data from around the world.
most of the providers provide you GPRS connectivity, few of them only G3 and some conditions might apply. i would recommend some with the advantage and disadvantage by referring to my own experience only. i hope this might help you to make the right choice when you travel to Cambodia.
1. CamGSM (MOBITEL)
Technology: GSM 900
GPRS APN: Cellcard (cellcard user)
GPRS APN: Postpaid (postpaid user)
3G APN: 3G (3G user)
Tariff GPRS: 50Kb/1cent
they are the first one that provide the mobile phone service in Cambodia, they have a lot of users compared to others. we can find their service almost everywhere in Cambodia. It’s good to you if you move around the country and want to stay connected.
there are two type of users: cellcard and postpaid users. cellard user mean you buy the credit and use it, postpaid you need to make a disposite and pay every month.
for cellcard user, you can use only GPRS with 50Kb/1cent. you can’t use 3G unless you need to choose the postpaid member. to use GPRS, you can register by sending a message to their specific number, with the specification of your mobile phone model or in case they said it doesn’t recognize your mobile phone model, just type in a commune model normally it will work for your phone too.
this is the good tip, in case you just bought a new phone and they didn’t add this model to their system yet, you can type the old model available in their list, it will works the same. check out this instruction from their official website.
if you stay longer in Cambodia and want to benefit of their 3G connectivity, you can console this tariff plan, they have option for monthly charge of 9 USD (20MB), 24 USD (120MB), 40 USD (200MB) if you passed these limited, you will be charge the same as GRPS 50KB/1cent. Consult this Postpaid plan for more details
if you are using laptop and you want to connect to internet through your phone, you can refer to the APN i mentioned above just below the operator name. the rest parameter of your connecting software, you can leave it blank. for the first time setting, if it is not work, try to turn off you phone and turn it on, some setting might need your phone to reboot. or if you still cannot connect, you can bring the laptop to their service center, there are some nice technician people there to help you.
they are good in term of service and network coverage, but i am not quite sure about the speed, i found it slow compare to other network. if someone using this 3G, please give a comment on this.
2. APPLIFONE CO. LTD. (StarCell)
Technology: GSM 1800
GPRS APN: internet
Tariff GRPS: 50Kb/1cent
the company launched in 2007, the cover service is not national global yet, and even in my room that take only 5 minutes walk from their office i can’t even get the good reception. these are the provinces that you might find their service: Phnom Penh, Kandal Province, Siem Reap, Kampong Som (Preah Sihanouk Province), National Road No. 6, National Road No. 4, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Poi Pet, Kampong Cham, Kampot, Sisophon, Pursat Kampong Chhnang, Pailin, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Takeo, Svay Rieng, Memot, Kratie, Stung Treng and Ratankiri.
but they propose interesting tariffs: 10 USD (400 MB), 20 USD (1GB), 40 USD (3GB). this would be convenient for you if you think you would need to heavy download from the internet. and you can refill by add the credit direct to your card but this will cut after one month even you don’t use it all. for the first usage you need to go to their office to activate the service, after that you can refill your credit by normal refill card. i found it interesting in term of volume but might face some difficulty in coverage network.
3. Cambodia Advance Communications Co. Ltd (QB)
Technology: 3G 2100
3G APN: wap
Tariff 3G: 60KB/1cent
the company launched in 2006, with a big concert and everything. the same as other new company they coverage are not notional covered yet, only few cities available: Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Takmao and Battambang towns. in my room i hardly find the good reception, if i want to fully connected, i need to move out from the room.
it’s 3G so it work fast but their tariff is a bit difficult to understand. they should make life more easy or you have to sit and try to understand different tariff they proposed. i think the default option is charge by minute which is a bit expensive 1min/3cent. or you can change to be charged by volume which is 60KB/1cent and if you reach the 35 USD, they don’t charge you anymore but i think this volume will not pass the maximum of 1.5 GB. i don’t have much experience in using QB but i found their speed is acceptable but as i mentioned the volume charge is still expensive if you compare to others.
4. Telekom Malaysia International (Cambodia) Co. Ltd
Technology: GSM 900
Tariff GPRS: 100Kb/1cent
i have tried this operator lately and i found it very interesting to use for both reasons: the speed and the price. this is the first time when i connect to a GPRS mobile network in Cambodia and i can get a speed of 460.8 kbps.
i found the speed is fast and the volume charge is less expensive than others. they also now promoting what they call the hello 3G mobile broadband. but to get this service you need to use the postpaid option which will cost you 60 USD per month for unlimited usage with the internet high speed 512 kbps. find more details of this USB connection point on their website.
for the coverage area i believe they cover all the area in Cambodia,
most of the restaurants in the tourist areas: Sisowath Quay mostly will provide you the free wi-fi, some places got good speed but most of them i found the speed is not satisfy.
unless you use Online Hotspot which i found very interesting to work efficiently with the internet. you can find their logo Online hotspot at some restaurant, i usually go to Java if i need to download or view the heavy pages, the online prepaid card 5 USD will allow you to surf around 5 hours. consult this map to see the available location of their Wi-Fi Hotspot.
as you see we have many choices and it’s hard to make the right choice. it depends also on our need. that’s why now in Cambodia, we cannot have only one phone. we should think about the future, to have only a single device which could allow us to surf and call at the same time. it’s hard to have many phones with you, but we have no choice since we need them in different purpose.
this could be the new vision of a new company to provide only a single device which could response to the mobility need of the users.
hope you could find some advantage from this article, i am not the affiliate with any of those operators, the main purpose is to give a general point of view for the mobility system in Cambodia to see where we are now and what kind of things we should think of to have a better mobility system.