Social, Digital and Mobile in Cambodia

by Simon Kemp in News

For the next report in our series on Social, Digital and Mobile around the world, we’re exploring the fascinating ecosystem of Cambodia.

The Southeast Asian state’s population is just short of 15 million, but 80% of Cambodians still live in rural areas with limited technological infrastructure.

However, with almost two thirds of the country’s population under the age of 30, it’s perhaps less surprising that digital connectivity is increasing at an impressive pace.

Internet penetration in Cambodia is still on the low side at just 16%, but the number of internet users in the country has leapt up by almost 550% in 2012 alone.

Part of this growth has been fuelled by a surge in the number of internet providers, along with a 33% jump in the number of internet cafés in just the past few months.

However, the most exciting story comes from the handheld arena: almost one quarter of all Cambodia’s internet activity comes from mobile phones – a figure that ranks the country 15th in the world in terms of mobile’s share of internet activity.

Social media is still far from widespread in the kingdom however, with barely one in twenty Cambodians registered on a social network.

More than 1,000 people in Cambodia are joining Facebook every day though, so it shouldn’t take long for penetration to reach double digits:

Facebook Growth in Cambodia

Cambodians appear to be spending more time engaging with brands on social media too, with technology brands offering 3 of the top 5 most ‘Liked’ Facebook pages in the country.

Unsurprisingly, we predict that mobile activity will fuel growth in this area over the coming months too. With the average Cambodian possessing 1.3 mobile subscriptions, and with 3G penetration already beyond 20%, mobile phones are the obvious device of choice for much of the country’s population.

Indeed, Cambodia was the first country in the world to claim more mobile phones that landlines, and even today, fixed-line telephony services barely register, with just 4% penetration.

Meanwhile, demand for mobile devices shows no sign of slowing, and with clear momentum building behind smartphones in 2012, we’re expecting many more impressive numbers from Cambodia in 2013.

You can download a high-res PDF of this report here.

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  • Rob SMIT

    I don’t think you understand the situation of MPTC and telco operator reporting standards – there are no unified measurement used to calculate active subs apart from whatever is claimed by operators and this source data you quote is highly disbelieved.

    It has been well covered in the media that the 2.5+ million internet users is not realistic unless you count the unused promotion SIMs that telcos have been giving away for years as freebies then never heard from again. That is the reason for so many users – they are counting dead SIMs and playing the numbers.

    Anybody in the industry is well aware of the insanely massive churn and hugely exaggerated statistics – case in point would be telcos claiming up to millions of users when really the active subs are barely 10% and ARPU is $1 or $2 per month at best.

    It is estimated that none of the operators are now profitable due to intense competition and their service quality shows this in quite frequent decline and “blackouts”.

    The internet speeds and connectivity is awful, youtube can take many minutes or not at all to load, facebook may have no photos or adverts, even google has off days to do a search. These are the better packages and providers that are very costly.

  • Simon Kemp

    Thanks very much for this clarification Rob – we really appreciate your insights. 

    As you’ll notice, we don’t produce this data ourselves; we’re using industry standard sources such as the ITU, government figures, and Business Monitor International. 

    We recognise that there are many occasions in which these numbers will not deliver 100% accuracy. However, by continuing to use the same sources over time, we at least hope to deliver a representative picture of trends over time.

    The purpose of these reports is to present marketers with a readily available, concise collection of the latest available figures from sources that we believe offer the most accurate version of that picture. 

    However, it certainly seems from your comments that you have a great deal of expertise in this area, so we’d be delighted to hear more of your perspective on the situation in Cambodia. We’d be very grateful if you could share these with us via, and we’ll in turn share these here on the blog where relevant. Thanks in advance!

  • Gaertner Mike

    To add some feedback, it seams you have also not checked your facebook data thoughtfully, there are several pages missing, noticeable Sabay with 100k+ fans :) 

    As to the number of internet users Rob already gave you some feedback, which is spot on, the number of 2.4m is grossly inflated and 550% growth in 2012 is a unrealistic number. I would estimated the number of internet users below 700k and the number of real facebook users to be around 400k or less. Many people i know have 2 or 3 facebook accounts and 3,4,5 or more SIM’s. 

    But true mobile internet access has accelerated fast during 2012, Metfone has been leading the way with cheap 3G USB modems, est 70k+ sold during 2012 according to company statements. And also true we have a stagering number of ISP; 26 by our last count plus 7 mobile operators.

    The number of internet cafes, according to our data is somewhere around 900+ nationwide. 

    As to mobile access, we are tracking most of the top websites in Cambodia and mobile access is around 15%, so i am not sure if 25% of access being mobile is accurate.

    Overall however internet access quality has vastly improved over the past 5 years, and social media has really taken off during the past 24 month. 

    Regards Mike

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  • guest

    hopefully with the increase of Internet users in Cambodia can increase sales obat keputihan herbal alami there.