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Telecoms Ordered to Allow Cross-Network Calls

The prime minister has ordered telecom companies to reopen cross-network communication, in a bid to ensure fair competition in the communications industry.

In an Oct. 21 letter, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered all telecom companies to stop the practice of barring connections from one company to another or risk losing their licenses.

The denial of cross-network service was leading to chaos in the telecom market, he said.

Last month, Russian-owned mobile firm Beeline accused the high-profile MobiTel of blocking calls from its network to MobiTel customers. MobiTel in turn accused Beeline of price dumping by charging below cost for calls made by its customers to other networks.

Minister of Post and Telecommunications So Khun could not be reached for comment, and other officials at the ministry declined to comment Wednesday.

MobiTel owner Kith Meng declined to comment, and Beeline officials could not be reached for comment.

Smart Mobile spokesman Um Rattana said his firm had already received an order by the government, adding that it has respected the order.

Cambodia has more than 4 million mobile phone users, who get their service from nine different companies.