Mobile phones

Mobile networks in Cambodia

Mobile phones

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, however, the telecoms infrastructure is expanding rapidly and the use of mobile phones is becoming increasingly popular.

According to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the number of mobile phones users increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 6.3 million in 2009, and up to 9.8 million in 2010.  

Nowadays, five major mobile networks compete with each other for a share of Cambodia’s mobile market. Mobile phones in Cambodia are increasingly common and expats have a total of nine mobile phone operators to choose from. This may seem like a lot for a relatively small country like Cambodia with a population of only 15 million.

SIM cards are sold everywhere so it may be possible for you to arrive with an unlocked phone and just use a Cambodian SIM card for your stay. There are multiple phone booths where you can get a SIM card the moment you arrive at the airport.  

SIM cards are sold for US$5 which include US$10 credit. It is even possible to top up your SIM card with a minimum of US$1. Calls within Cambodia have a low rate that costs between 5-8 cents per minute, however, it depends on the network and time of day. International calls cost approximately 20 cents per minute.

Mobitel/Cellcard, Beeline, Smart Mobile, Excell and MetFone all have different rates and different level of coverage.

  • Metfone  with Viettel is Cambodia’s largest mobile phone provider. A subsidiary of Vietnam’s military-run telecoms provider, Metfone offers Internet, mobile and fixed line services.
  • Mobitel/Cellcard  is Cambodia’s second largest mobile phone provider with 2.6 million subscribers, about a 16% share of Cambodia’s mobile market. Mobitel is also a broadband Internet and fixed line provider and offers plans for people who make a lot of international calls.
  • Beeline  offers a wide range of wireless, fixed and broadband technologies
  • Smart Mobile  has five million subscribers and offers call plans, international calls, international roaming and mobile Internet (2.5G & 3.75G).
  • Excell is Cambodia’s only mobile service to use CDMA technology, which does not use SIM cards and requires subscribers to buy phones made for the service.

Many Cambodians have several SIM cards for different networks. They use the corresponding SIM to match the person they are calling, thus saving themselves money.

Many expats choose Beeline, since this provider offers a cheap database package, low setup costs, cheap international calls (depending on the region) and they have English-speaking staff. They also offer a TOURIST package which offers special rates for international calls and SMS.

Further reading

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