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Cambodia's conglomerate in talks to buy communications satellite from China: minister


19:52, April 10, 2013

PHNOM PENH, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Royal Group of Companies is in negotiations to purchase a satellite from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation for its telecoms operations in Cambodia, Cambodian Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said Wednesday.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, accompanied by President of the Royal Group of Companies Kith Meng, visited the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation during his official visit to China from April 6-10, Cham Prasidh told reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport upon the premier's return from Beijing.

"Kith Meng is in talks with the Chinese firm to buy a satellite that could cost between 300 million U.S. dollars and 400 million U. S. dollars," he said, adding that the satellite could be used for 15 years.

Tycoon Kith Meng currently owns the kingdom's largest mobile phone operator, Mobitel. In April 2011, the government of Cambodia signed a concessional contract to grant his company to study and prepare for the launching of a communications satellite.

Under the contract, the company will take three years to study and prepare for launching Cambodia Satellite-1 in order to serve phone, broadband Internet and broadcasting services and other sectors.

The country's telecommunications sector has been developing rapidly in recent years, but it has no its own satellite so far. At present, Cambodia hires satellite from neighboring countries including Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

Currently, Cambodia has two fixed phone operators, six mobile phone operators, and 27 Internet service providers.

By the end of 2012, the mobile phone operators had sold 19.1 million SIM cards, exceeding the country's population of only 14.5 million, according to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication. On the Internet side, some 2.7 million people had subscribed to Internet services as of last year, up 60 percent year-on-year.

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