Internet access in Cambodia : A chat with Digi CEO

Cambodia’s Internet generation is increasingly connected through mobile devices, contrary to other countries where mobile surfing is considered secondary to broadband.

Wide network coverage implies that many provincial residents access the Internet with their mobile phones. The verdict is simple – 3G subscribers are on the rise and cable access users are at the bottom of the rung.

Last month, we interviewed Mr. Andrey Sheen, CEO at Digi to find out more about Cambodia’s digital sphere as well as Digi’s well-established presence in the market.

digi

Mr Andrey Sheen, CEO at Digi

Digi first started in Cambodia in 2008 when they began building broadband cables.Though the initial coverage was limited, their network has significantly increased over the years. Through strategic partnerships with corporate clients, Digi’s supplies and distribution networks developed in 2009, providing residential clients with optic fiber resources. Today, Digi wields a strong network over the entire city of Phnom Penh with plans to extend coverage to the provinces in the near future.

“Five years ago, accessing Internet with decent traffic was not that easy in the Cambodia,” said Andrey. “Web access was expensive.” Things are different now, since more Internet service providers (ISP) – including Digi – aim to deliver unlimited access at affordable rates. With better-developed Internet cables as well, Cambodians enjoy broadband connection that is not disposed to the country’s weather elements.

With Digi’s ISP currently leading the residential market in Phnom Penh, “demand for better Internet access is growing to (accommodate) the big potential in Cambodia,” said Andrey.

Mobile solutions are also part of Digi’s advantage. “Some people don’t have laptop, but they have smartphones or tablets,” said Andrey, noting that Cambodians are very keen to use their handheld gadgets to surf the web. With more than 3.5 million 3G subscribers in the country, mobile traffic represents at least 23 percent of the Cambodia’s Internet traffic.

Andrey believes that “it’s good to have both cable and mobile Internet”, noting each plays a different role. “Though Internet penetration is still relatively low, it’s growing thanks to mobile operators and 3G,” said Andrey. “It’s just a matter of time for people to realize and understand that the importance of setting up cable access”, convenience and larger data capacity being the key factors.

Digi has also developed some processes to respond to residential customers’ needs. We had the opportunity to discover a wide range of services such as web streaming, a YouTube-like platform, and even an online store with social network features.

Our team is presently testing some of those features, so stay tuned for some upcoming reviews!

(Edited by Lareina Choong)