State of Mobile Networks: Cambodia (August 2018)

Cambodia's rapid 4G growth is producing some interesting results in OpenSignal's metrics. Operators are expanding access to LTE services to meet demand, causing 4G availability metrics to rise. On the flip side, that demand for mobile data is also likely taxing the capacity of operators' 4G networks. The result: Average 4G download speeds are slowing down. In our latest look at Cambodia, we analyzed nearly 640 million measurements to compare the 3G and 4G experience offered by the country's three major operators.


Cellcard dominates our speed awards

Cellcard scored highest in all four of OpenSignal's speed metrics, and in every case it did so by large margins. While Smart came in second in most of our speed metrics, Metfone clearly has some catching up to do, particularly in 4G download speed where it averaged only 3.6 Mbps in our measurements.

Smart jumps into the lead in 4G availability

Smart saw a 9 percentage point bump over six months in its 4G availability score, propelling the operator to the top of our rankings. Smart was able to provide our users with a 4G signal 78.2% of the time.

Network responsiveness improves across Cambodia

As Cambodian operators fine-tune their LTE networks, the response times of their 4G services are improving. All three major operators had 4G latency scores below 50 milliseconds, but Metfone led the pack with a round-trip response time of 42.8ms.

Overall speeds remain steady even as 4G speeds drop

Average 4G speeds in Cambodia are falling, which is a trend we see in many newer LTE markets. But the typical everyday speeds in Cambodia are holding firm as operators expand access to 4G connections.

Opensignal Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Upload Speed: 4G Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G


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Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by Opensignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Upload Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average upload speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time Opensignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Regional Performance

This chart shows the regional winners in each category Opensignal measures. Click on the icons to see a more detailed graph showing each operator’s metrics in a particular region.

Legend: Cellcard Smart Axiata Metfone
RegionDownload Speed: 4GDownload Speed: 3GDownload Speed: OverallUpload Speed: 4GLatency: 4GLatency: 3GAvailability: 4G
Phnom Penh

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Cambodia's 4G market is experiencing some growing pains. On the one hand, access to 4G signals is increasing steadily as two of the three major operators expand the reach of their LTE services. On the other hand, 4G download speeds are slowing down, which is most likely the result of 4G subscriber growth and increased mobile data demand in Cambodia. Those two trends are balancing each other out though. As 4G availability increases, overall speeds available to consumers are holding steady as LTE signals become easier to find.

Analyzing more than 639 million measurements collected from 52,019 devices in the 90-day test period starting April 1, 2018, OpenSignal compared the 3G and 4G mobile data services offered by the country's three major operators: CamGSM's Cellcard, Viettel's Metfone and Smart Axiata. In addition to looking at our metrics on the national level, we performed a closer examination of the capital Phnom Penh. Let's start first with our national metrics and the conflicting trends we see in 4G.

Speed vs. availability — a 4G balancing act

The level of 4G access is on the rise in Cambodia, and no operator exemplified that trend more than Smart. Its 4G availability score jumped a remarkable 9 percentage points in the six months since our last Cambodia report. During the 90-day test period, our Smart users were able to tap into an LTE connection 78.2% of the time. Metfone also saw a smaller bump in 4G reach, while Cellcard's 4G availability score has remained relatively flat over the last six months. In our last report, we recorded a three-way draw between the major operators in this metric, but Smart's big gains in this test period granted it sole claim to our 4G availability award.

In 4G download speed, we saw the opposite trend. Cellcard held onto our 4G download award for the third report in a row, but its average LTE connection speed fell by nearly 3 Mbps to 16.5 Mbps over the last six months in our measurements. We saw a similar drop in Smart's 4G download speed results, which fell more than 4 Mbps to 12.1 Mbps in the same timeframe. Metfone was the only operator that didn't experience a drop in its 4G download speed score, but with an average connection of 3.6 Mbps in our tests, its 4G download speeds were extremely slow — a full 13 Mbps below the global average measured in our last State of LTE report. Those slow speeds might be an indication of limited 4G capacity on Metfone's network or they could be a sign that Metfone is restricting the download speeds available to its customers.

While falling 4G speeds might seem like a worrying trend, it's quite common in countries where LTE services are relatively new. As operators scale up their 4G services, signing up more customers and expanding their LTE footprints, networks become loaded, which causes average connection speeds to fall. As operators upgrade network capacity, speeds typically rebound, often exceeding the initial speeds offered when their services first launched. We're already seeing Cambodian operators address the capacity issue with new LTE-Advanced upgrades and other network enhancements.

The rise in 4G availability in Cambodia means consumers aren't experiencing any drop in the download speeds they see day to day. LTE download speeds may be lower but 4G connections are more accessible, meaning consumers are spending less time on slower 3G networks. Our overall download speed metric measures the typical connection speeds our users see across an operator's mobile broadband networks. In the case of all three Cambodian operators we analyzed, overall download speeds have remained steady over the last six months.

In our remaining speed categories, we recorded another two big wins for Cellcard. It led in our 4G upload speed metric, averaging connections of 5.9 Mbps, and it topped the table in 3G download speed with a 2.8 Mbps average. Cellcard's competitors will need to work hard if they hope to unseat the king of our speed metrics.

Although Metfone's 4G speed scores didn't impress, its LTE network showed remarkable resilience in our final metric category, latency, which measures the response time of a network. Lower latency connections mean webpages begin loading quicker and real-time communications apps experience less lag time. Metfone won our 4G latency award with a response time of 42.8 milliseconds, but latency is improving across all Cambodian networks. All three operators had 4G latency scores below 50ms, a significant milestone for a country still in the earlier stages of LTE development. We also recorded significant improvements between reports in all three operators' 3G latency scores. Those faster network response times are sure signs of widespread infrastructure improvements across Cambodia.

Smart gains on Cellcard in Phnom Penh

In Phnom Penh we saw an interesting twist on our national metrics. Cellcard's measured 4G download speeds in the capital were far slower than its national average, but Smart and Metfone improved upon their national 4G download scores. The result was a draw for our 4G download speed award between Cellcard and Smart in the capital. In fact, Smart made a solid challenge in all four of our speed metrics in the city, registering a draw with Cellcard in every category. In 4G availability, Smart repeated its national win in Phnom Penh with an excellent score of 82.4% in our measurements. All three operators, however, had 4G availability results higher than 72% in the city, showing how much they've built out their LTE networks in the capital.

In any typical LTE network rollout, upgrades start in the big cities and then spread out to the rest of the country. So we can expect national 4G availability scores in Cambodia to continue their upward trend in the future. But as 4G services spread further, we may also see further declines in 4G download speed as consumers take advantage of those newly available signals, creating more pressure on limited capacity. The question is whether Cambodia's operators will meet that demand for more mobile data with additional network capacity.

Our Methodology

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 639,154,135 datapoints were collected from 52,019 users during the period: 2018-04-01 - 2018-06-29.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

Opensignal Limited retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by Opensignal Limited may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.