Cambodia may ban telcos from owning infrastructure

Dylan Bushell-Embling
28 Jul 2014

Cambodian telecom operators are up in arms about new draft legislation that would allegedly prohibit them from owning infrastructure while offering retail services.

The nation's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) has released a draft law that would force telcos wishing to retain retail operations to sell their assets and rely on state-owned infrastructure providers instead, the Phnom Penh Postreported.

The draft law would apply to assets including towers and underground cables, and stipulates that such infrastructure needs to be under control of the ministry.

If the draft law passes, operators will meanwhile be forced to hand back all telecom licenses, which would then be reassessed on new criteria before being reallocated.

Another clause would empower the MPTC to order operators to transfer systems that control their telecom operation to the ministry if needed in order to secure “effective security, national stability and social order.”

Industry insiders interviewed by the Post described the draft legislation as “draconian” and an attempt to “give government total control and power over the industry.” They said the entire industry is united in opposition of the proposed law.

The MPTC has reportedly given the industry until today to officially respond to the draft. But the ministry has denied issuing the draft law to telecom operators, and said that it has not yet been finalized.

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