The beginning of our Tiger year has marked the arrival of two Vietnamese Telcoms in the Kingdom of Wonders, where Viettel, a.k.a Metfone – the Telcom provider with military origin, has already been a long-term player since June 2007. Specifically, FPT Telecom would compete against Viettel and local players on the internet broadband front while VTC would apparently be challenging Sabay – Cambodia’s leading content service provider and one of the sponsors for Barcamp Phnom Penh 2009.
The on-the-street survey that we did during the last Barcamp event revealed that Viettel had been doing a great job in the capital, luring a great number of new subscribers into their Internet, mobile, and data (GPRS) services, mostly thanks to price attractiveness. Friends that we talked to all thought the price was the competitive edge that Viettel had, considering the unbelievable high price that local players had to offer (due to lack of investment in infrastructure and other reasons).
Cambodia is a country a population of 14mil people and an average annual growth rate of around 8.5% in the last 5 years, boasting a lot more opportunities for future developments judging by our observation of the tourism sector (we love Siem Reap btw!), which makes a lot of sense for Vietnamese telcoms to consider participating in.
Out of the 3 players, I would say Viettel stands a lot more chance than FPT. Let me be realistic: FPT internet service sucks even in Vietnam, while Viettel is moving further and further in Cambodia. We’ve seen lots of banners everywhere we went to during our last week’s trip to Cambodia.
VTC may need a lot more time to materialize their investment, as obviously their service relies heavily on the establishment of broadband infrastructure, which takes time. Probably Cambodia has around 10000 people with broadband access today. My guess is FPT & VTC would ponder on providing online games to the local.
Anyhow, this is all great moves. I’m really excited to see many more Vietnamese companies going Cambodia as it would make our life much easier as frequent tourists to this wonderful neighboring country!