Sunday, December 15, 2013

Youth protest against calling rates set by ministry

The Cambodia Daily, Dec. 14, 2013

PHNOM PENH (The Cambodia Herald) -- A  group of young adults rallied at Wat Phnom Penh on Saturday to protest against the telecommunication companies’ new calling rates set by the Ministry of Post Office and Telecommunications.

The group, who claimed to be fans of Facebook, called on the ministry to remove its recent Prakas (public notice), which had set a minimum price for telecommunications companies.

The new calling rates were implemented earlier in December.

The ministry ordered all telecommunication companies in Cambodia to stop providing bonuses for their clients, and set 4.5 cents per minute for on-network calls, and 5.95 cents for out-of-network calls.

Before the issue of ministry's Prakas, many telecom companies offered promotions to their clients, who benefited from the on-net calling rates.

One of the companies is Smart Mobile Co., which allowed its subscribers to exchange and convert $0.5 to $7 ($1 to $20 …) for on-net calling and internet.

Other companies also allowed their clients to exchange money for on-network calls.

"The Prakas issued by ministry drastically affects the daily expenses of citizens, especially the poor," said the petition, which will be presented to Ministry of Post Office and Telecommunication.

"The calling rates also show an inappropriate interference of the government in a free economy."

"The Prakas by the ministry opposes the constitution, which aims to promote the livelihood of citizens," the petition said, asking the government and the Ministry of Post Office to remove the Prakas, dated December 2009.

Currently, nine telecommunication companies are operating in Cambodia; Mobitel (Cellcard), Vietnamese-owned Metfone, Russian-owned Beeline, and Smart Mobile, qb, Excell and CooTel.

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