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Cambodia bans 3G services

Its prime minister says 3G cellphones are too advanced, and may hamper the government's efforts in containing porn.
Written by Aaron Tan, Contributor

update Cambodia has banned 3G (Third Generation) cellphones in the country because they can be used to transmit pornography.

According to news wire Reuters, Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote to the country's Minister of Telecommunications to "delay the use of certain mobile phones".

Hun Sen's wife had earlier urged him to act against the delivery of 3G services in Cambodia, after she and her friends received pornographic material on their 3G cellphones.

"We can wait 10 more years until we have managed to improve morality in society," Hun Sen reportedly told an assembly of Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh last Friday.

According to another news service the Associated Press, Hun Sen reportedly said that the 3G cellphone "is way too advanced for us".

"Hearing each other's voices and exchanging text messages should be enough," he said. "If we go further than this, it could be more difficult for us to control pornography."

It is not known, however, if legislation is necessary for the ban to take effect as Hun Sen's orders are often unchallenged by the country's lawmakers, AP said.

According to the AP report, CamGSM, another Cambodian mobile service provider, is currently the telco that operates the country's 3G network.

Alcatel also told ZDNet Asia it had announced in February this year, that it is supplying CamGSM with 3G radio access and core network equipment, video telephony and streaming applications.

An Alcatel spokesperson based in Singapore noted that commercial 3G services have yet to be launched by CamGSM. He declined to comment when asked if Alcatel or CamGSM, would be working with the local government to find ways to restrict access to pornography, avoiding a direct ban on 3G services.

Cambodia has a population of more than 13 million, and estimates from MarketResearch.com state there are more than 1 million mobile subscribers in the country. MobiTel is Cambodia's largest mobile operator.

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