Adapting new technology with local needs – Sok Channda

Mekonet is major internet provider mainly for companies in Cambodia. They focus not only on high-quality net environments but also on technologies that are expected to be popularized in the future, such as cloud services and data centers.
We asked Ms. Sok Channda, the CEO of Mekong Net on the current situation of the Cambodian internet business.
(Interviewed at: October, 2017)

Interviewee Profile

Sok Channda: CEO of MekongNet.

There is a demand for high-quality internet even at a higher price range

Could you tell us about you and your company’s profile?

We are a part of the Angkor data communication group and our service is called Mekong Net. We began operations in 2006 after receiving the ISP license to provide internet services and to build an internet data center in Cambodia. Mekong Net also have a fiber optic operation on the Vietnam border and the Thai border to supply internet services to Cambodia.


Can you give us the current situation of internet business for B to B and B to C in Cambodia?

Each service provider has different strategies. Some service providers are focused on Phnom Penh, some service providers are focused on the provinces, some of them focus on whole sale and corporate with other companies. Some of the providers focus on cheap prices, but we don’t want to compete with them.


Please tell us the strength of your company.

We focus on customers who needs good quality internet services. At the beginning, we wanted to focus on whole sale including providing the internet to other internet service providers and mobile operators. We also have end users but not too many, because we prefer to focus on quality, our current target is B to B. If we have many end users and get complaints, we can’t treat it with quality.

So, we don’t care how many customers Mekong Net can get in the market, but we do care how many customers we can pick for good quality service. If we follow the other internet service providers and compete with them, we will have to provide services at a lower price. Low prices mean services with less quality. Therefore, we prefer to look at our customer’s needs. I see many customers are after quality internet services even with a higher price.

We also provide a one stop service, such as IT products, data centers and designing internet for customers as an IT solution. If you are a new company coming to Cambodia and choose our company, you don’t need to worry about the internet environment for your business.


The key is, establishing a good relationship with customers

What was an important management strategy in the competition of ISP companies?

In the past, there were more than fifty ISP providers in Cambodia. To compete with them, we focus on the quality of our service and have a one stop service solution. Before we started Mekong Net, the price of internet was more than 2000USD per month. Our service prices are not the lowest in Cambodia because we invest in good technology and have 24/7 support and build trust with our customers. The most important thing is to provide good internet connection to our customers and providing good support to them even during the night.


What should companies keep in mind when choosing an Internet service provider?

I think we need to have partners from other countries, we can’t work alone. When a Japanese company wants to connect with Cambodia, we need to work with our partners in Japan. We also have partners that can connect to offices and factories from overseas to another country. For international customers who want to do business in Cambodia, they need to choose an internet service provider that they can trust.


Data centers and B to B services are on the increase

Your company provides Data Center and Cloud services, which B to B services are going to be high in demand?

In other Asian countries, there are many stable data centers and cloud services. In Cambodia, it is common for each company to have a small server within the company, so it’s very difficult to move that data function to a big data center. Now there are a few internet service providers which are focusing on data center function for rent, but I don’t think it will be a big demand comparing with other countries. Such data center function will increase slowly because the needs of software and systems are developing now.

We can take advantage in local infrastructure to support online services with low rental fees. Mekong net has two data centers in different locations. The price of VPS (virtual private server) will be lower than a private server.


Adapting new technology with local needs

Please tell us about your future business developments.

We will continue to expand our business by following our customer’s needs. We are building our own fiber optic now, in the urban area we work over ground but from the border to the city and in between provinces, we must build underground cable system. The government has ordered to drop the cables underground in the city, but we must care for the buildings, apartment, shopping center. So, it will take time to rebuild the networks in the city.

We see a lot of new technologies, but not all the new technology will be suitable for Cambodia. For example, about ten years ago, there was a technology called WIMAX. It’s a small equipment that enables the wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL. You can use it in the office, home or even in the car and I thought it was a very good product. But, after a few years this technology didn’t work. Therefore, we need to see if the new technology will adapt here in Cambodia.

Now we are providing internet services in 16 provinces and trying to provide data networking services too. Such as VPM, co-location data center and video conference system so companies can use to communicate with their office in the province. We also develop our own SMS system and the mobile phone operators in Cambodia uses our system to use the SMS as a communication tool or an advertisement platform.


Please tell us about the future of the Cambodian telecommunications industry.

I believe that Cambodia is developing very fast in this field. There used to be more than fifty ISP companies, but any companies are undergoing merges and re-construction due to the competition. To remain in this market, we need to provide good services at good prices for our customers. Adding value to the services are important to keep our customers loyal too.

I am very happy because before the price of the internet services were very high, but now it’s set at a reasonable price and we can get more customers to use the internet in our country. Thanks to the price drop, more schools, offices and companies can access the internet. We can enjoy and learn from the internet and I hope that Cambodians can conduct business efficiently with the help of internet access.

Do you have a message towards our readers?

Cambodia is a developing country and the internet industry is growing fast, I hope companies can encounter with a good service provider, so they can conduct business stably.


    • MekongNet
    • Description of Business : Internet Provider