Ericsson joins Cambodian operator Star-Cell to bring mobile services to remote areas.

A solar-driven telecommunications infrastructure and satellite transmission are combined for the first time to enable Star-Cell, Cambodia to expand its network coverage. Having started operations in 2006, Star-Cell is a relatively young operator. Now providing services in all of Cambodia's major cities, the operator plans to move into the provision of mobile services for rural areas.

Approximately 80 percent of the Cambodian population lives outside of the main urban centers so this market holds a lot of opportunity. However, in areas outside of the main energy and transmission grid, the lack of existing infrastructure makes establishing a network very difficult. Sirichai Manorot, Key Account Manager, Ericsson explains: "For any operator looking to break into a new market there are always hurdles to overcome. In the case of Star-Cell these are exacerbated by an insufficient mobile infrastructure. Also undiscovered landmines, a legacy of the country's troubled past, still pose a threat when installing equipment in rural areas."

Ericsson has a strong reputation in networking areas that are difficult to access and Star-Cell selected Ericsson to help it break into the rural market. In this project, Ericsson provides a combined solution, based on the RBS 2111 Main Remote unit and Solar Panel and Satellite Backhaul. Denis Ryabtsev, Chief Marketing Officer, Star-Cell, Cambodia, underlines the value of the project: "We plan to serve 90 percent of the country by 2012 and this partnership represents a huge step in our journey. Ericsson has provided a viable business model which enables us to connect people in rural areas for the first time and offer affordable services."

Reliable communication can make a huge difference to small rural communities. Studies show that mobile communication boosts economic growth by 1.2 percent for every 10 percent rise in mobile users. Small health centers can now gain access to more advanced health care by connecting to larger establishments via mobile broadband. Similarly, teachers are able to access the mobile network through fixed wireless terminals and download educational material. Farming remains an important part of the economy in Cambodia and remote farmers can now connect with the outside world, receiving the latest information about the best market price for their crops, through an SMS application. Denis Ryabtsev adds: "We are committed to improving the quality of life in Cambodia and as part of this we plan to introduce a new tariff. By paying a small monthly fee, rural subscribers will gain access to all our services at a reduced rate."

The increased energy and transmission efficiency enabled by IP has reduced operational expenses for the operator. With a less energy efficient solution it would be difficult to operate in this market and keep prices down. This also has a wider impact and Star-Cell is establishing a socially responsible brand, which will place it ahead of the competition in the future. Star-Cell is now able to continue its ambitious pattern of expansion in Cambodia, targeting those who stand to benefit the most from reliable mobile communications.


Customer: Star-Cell, Cambodia

Customer Objective

  • Expand coverage
  • Reduce costs
  • Bring reliable, low-cost services to rural areas
  • Bridge the digital divide

Ericsson Solution

  • GSM network
  • Ericsson Sun Site
  • Ericsson Satellite Cellular Backhaul
  • Network rollout

Customer Benefits

  • Establish business in a wider area
  • Increase reliable coverage without increasing costs
  • Build reputation as a sustainable and socially responsible operator

Customer profile


The Applifone Company, popularly known under the brand name of Star-Cell, is a private GSM mobile operator in Cambodia. The company was established in 2006 and commercially launched in 2007.

Since its commercial launch, Star-Cell has extended its services into major areas of Cambodia, such as Phnom Penh, Koki (Kandal province), Siem Reap and Kompong Som (Sihanouk Ville) and has coverage on the National Road No. 6 (Phnom Penh To Siem Reap). As one of the fastest growing companies in the market, Star-Cell is known for its quality and innovative services and has ambitious expansion plans for the future.

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