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Cambodia sees 4G coverage expand while speeds stagnate

Cambodia sees 4G coverage expand while speeds stagnate

4G network rollouts are progressing rapidly in Cambodia, but despite the increased accessibility of 4G, data rates for both 4G and 3G services remain sluggish.

In Q2 2017, Cambodia’s LTE availability rate hit 63.3%, placing it at roughly the same level as Malaysia and Indonesia and ahead of other countries such as the Philippines. The analysis is based on collated data signals gathered by OpenSignal, which collects smartphone data via its app.

During the quarter, the firm collected more than 86 million measurements from 8,414 devices to analyse how users were experiencing 3G and 4G across Cambodia’s three largest operators: MobiTel subsidiary Cellcard, Smart Axiata, and Viettel’s Metfone. The former two operators had similar LTE availability, hitting around 70%, but Metfone’s lagged at 56%.

There were greater discrepancies between the operators in terms of 4G speeds. Cellcard took pole position with an average download speed of 19.71Mb/s, almost double the speed of second-placed Smart Axiata’s 10.16Mb/s. Meanwhile Metfone’s average 4G speed was just 4.64Mb/s, a rate more typical of 3G connection speeds.

While Cambodians are increasingly able to access 4G networks, capacity remains limited. OpenSignal noted that operators are working to add capacity to their networks, which will eventually bring 4G speeds in line with the reach of the services.

3G speeds within Cambodia also lagged behind the global average speed of 4.4Mb/s. Cellcard’s again took first place with a rate of just 2.09Mb/s, with Metfone offering 1.9Mb/s and Smart Axiata 1.57Mb/s. Indeed, Cambodia was among the lowest of the 87 countries examined by OpenSignal’s global report in terms of average connection speeds across all networks, offering a typical rate of 5.7Mb/s.

Smart Axiata leads Cambodia’s 4G market with 70,000 users at the end of June. Overall it has a 30% share of the market, with 8.5 million connections of which 8.5% are 4G users. Around 145,000 – roughly 3% - of Cellcard’s 4.3 million connections are 4G users. It has an overall market share of 15%.

Metfone is the overall market leader, with 14.2 million connections giving it a 50% share. Its 4G statistics are currently unclear but 33% of its subscriber base is made up of 3G users.