Fast Market Research recommends “Cambodia & Laos Telecommunications Report Q4 2010″ from Business Monitor International, now available
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release–Nov 06, 2010) – Few new data regarding the telecommunications markets of Cambodia and Laos have been disclosed since our last update, with the situation in Cambodia urgently needing clarification as various players offered up wildly conflicting views on the size of the market, which range from 3.7mn to 7.1mn subscribers. Several operators, which rely heavily on prepaid services for growth, have yet to eliminate inactive and unregistered subscriber data from their records, and they continue to report heavily distorted user numbers. Others – such as Mfone and Axiata (hello) – have seen significant reductions in subscriber numbers as a result of record-keeping clean-ups, while smaller operators remain uncommunicative. We continue to believe that the market supported 5.4mn subscribers at the end of 2009, a view also held by VimpelCom of Russia. The market grew rapidly on the back of aggressive price competition in 2009 and, with new curbs on tariff changes effected early in 2010, we expect more moderate growth going forward.
The damage to Cambodian mobile ARPUs has already been done, however, with hello recording one of the lowest YE09 rates on the market, at US$4.20, and Mfone following close behind. Growing ARPUs will be difficult as customers have become accustomed to very low tariffs and this is reflected in our ARPU forecasts, which now include hello for the first time. We believe ARPUs will fall from an average of US$5.27 in 2009 to US$2.62 by 2014, although a small uptick may be seen from 2014 as the situation stabilises.
The lack of detailed H110 data means that we are reluctant to make any changes to our existing forecasts for mobile or fixed line markets in both countries. We do, however, have some new broadband subscriber data for Laos, which show the market to be growing at a faster rate than previously expected. With a new YE09 figure of 8,400 broadband subscribers in Laos, the broadband penetration rate would now appear to be just 0.13%. By the end of 2014, we forecast penetration rates rising to 0.8%. Nevertheless, despite the strong growth, penetration is expected to remain below 1% at the end of 2014.
We cannot – as yet – ascertain the extent to which 3G mobile broadband services are contributing to overall broadband adoption rates in either country, although it is clear that services are being deployed in more areas of each country and by more operators. Laotian operator Unitel is preparing to launch its 3G service in the latter part of 2010, according to rival Lao Telecommunications (LTC), for example, while Cambodia’s Sotelco (owned by TeliaSonera) is rolling services out to a number of new provinces. We are therefore keeping to our existing forecasts for 3G service adoption in both countries.