Caution for telecom firms with equipment in flood-hit areas

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Telecom operators have been urged to keep tabs on their equipment in flood-hit areas. Heng Chivoan

Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) has called on mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to maintain their quality of service despite the recent damage caused by flash floods nationwide.

In an announcement late on Wednesday, the TRC called for telecom operators to keep tabs on their equipment in flood-hit areas, with emphasis on cells-on-wheels – portable base stations also known as CoWs.

 

“They have to monitor and increase the capacity of their battery banks, and install generators or solar batteries at their network management centres’ BTSs/NodeBs/eNodeBs to ensure the efficiency and the sustainability of their services,” it said.

According to the TRC, telecom operators must inform their subscribers in affected areas where services has been cut or connection are poor.

Reports on affected antennae must be submitted every Friday starting from October 23.

Leading mobile operators Smart Axiata Co Ltd and CamGSM Co Ltd – which operates under the Cellcard trademark – have set up flood relief funds to help those who have been affected by the recent floods.

Cellcard CEO Ian Watson said his company has waived on-net voice services usage charges and has provided 500MB of data for impacted customers since Tuesday night.

He said customers need only dial 1270 to receive the free calls and data. The package can be used for up to one week and can be extended each week until further notice, he added.

 

“Cellcard is doing everything it can to help those victims during these difficult times and this is very important for everyone to stay connected,” Watson said. “Cellcard engineers are working around the clock to keep network sites on air. Cellcard urges care and safety to all at this time.

Smart Axiata announced on Thursday that it has set up the Smart Axiata Flood Relief Fund and called on its subscribers to donate to help their fellow Cambodians in need.

It said it will match donations up to $200,000 and distribute the funds through the governors of the worst-affected provinces.

Its CEO Thomas Hundt said: “As the country confronts this natural disaster, Smart continues to extend our assistance to where it is most needed.”

Earlier this year, Smart Axiata announced a $1 million Covid-19 Relief Fund to provide monetary assistance for high-impact solutions to address Cambodia’s most urgent needs during and after crises.

According to a September 3 press release, it has funded 11 different initiatives through its Covid-19 Relief Fund, supporting programmes focused on distant education, hygiene, protective equipment for healthcare professionals, vocational training and access to finance for entrepreneurs.

The number of active mobile phone subscriptions across the Kingdom’s six operators was 20,481,051 as of the end of May, inching down 0.08 per cent from the end of May last year, data from the TRC show.

This figure is the equivalent of 124.09 per cent of the total population.

At the same time, the number of landline and fixed-line subscriptions numbered just 52,480 as of the end of May, slipping 21.62 per cent from the end of May last year.

The number of mobile internet subscriptions across Cambodia’s seven providers also recorded a 2.36 per cent drop to 14,863,435, whereas fixed broadband internet subscriptions across the Kingdom’s 37 providers logged a 33.07 per cent climb to 249,132.