The Telecommunications Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) has urged mobile network operators to allow for a 90-day grace period before cancelling SIM cards and reselling those mobile phone numbers.
The call comes after numerous complaints by customers over the cancellation of phone numbers by operators and their subsequent sale of those numbers to new customers.
According to an August 14 TRC notice, endorsed by acting chairman Auk Dorany, many mobile phone subscribers lodged complaints regarding the alleged confiscation of their phone numbers which were resold to other subscribers following the lack of credit in the base account, and that notice period for the confiscation of numbers was too short.
“Subscribers also complained about the loss of funds in their base account upon expiration and when credit is reloaded, there is no accrual credit to the base account,” Dorany said.
Based on complaints and to avoid a recurrence as well as to protect the interests of consumers, TRC advised mobile service providers to determine the period of renewal of the user’s mobile phone number after the expiration of the account balance in three stages.
Firstly, he said, operators should set a 60-day period for the suspension of outgoing calls, short messaging service (SMS or text message) and data usage.
Subscribers should be allowed to call the emergency numbers, 117 (police), 118 (fire department) and 119 (ambulance), without incurring any service charge.
Secondly, a 30-day period for the suspension of incoming and outgoing calls, outgoing and incoming SMS and data usage should be set, and still allow subscribers to call the emergency numbers without service charge.
“Thirdly, stop processing but continue to keep the user’s mobile phone number for 90 days. During this period, the mobile phone number owner can request the mobile service provider to reactivate the mobile phone number that has been discontinued,” Dorany said.
Only after the three steps are observed, can the mobile service provider revoke the unused mobile phone number and resell the phone number, he instructed.
Mobile service providers are required to keep records of the identity of mobile subscribers (both existing and new) and the conditions related to the instructions must be clearly stated in the service subscription contract.
In addition, mobile operators have to set conditions for the accrual credit and renewal of the base account when subscribers top up based on the final validity of the base account balance.
“Therefore, all mobile service providers must strictly follow this instruction with a high sense of responsibility,” Dorany said.
On July 22, 2021, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications found that a mobile operator violated the procedure for opening a telephone number to a customer by cutting off the phone number of active customers and reselling it to new customers without the consent of the SIM card owner.
The ministry ordered the company to pay compensation to the original owner for its misconduct and the original owner was allowed to take back their number.