Khmer Language in mobile phone
The study on mobile phone in Cambodia found that, after equilibrating for location and gender, 63.3% of Cambodians between the ages of 15 and 65 had at least one mobile phone through which it was possible to send and receive messages in Khmer script (a 23.4% increase from 2014 and an 114% increase from 2013). It was found that 59% of women had such a mobile phone, versus 67.6% of men. The number of women using Khmer-enabled phones grew by 139% compared to the 2013 study, while for men the growth rate was only 97%, indicating a reduction in the gender gap in smartphone usage. The study found that the Nokia 1280 (an older, inexpensive model that does not support Khmer) accounted for 15.1% of the total mobile phones used. This phone, no longer sold, represented about one-third of all phones in 2013.
mobile phone Support for Khmer was found to be more extensive in urban areas than in rural areas (67% versus 61.7%). The increase in support in urban areas since 2014 was 16.7% (26.9% in rural areas) and since 2013 was 83% (133% for rural areas).
The percentage of Khmer-enabled mobile phones owned by Cambodians was also found to gradually increase
With the level of education of their owners, from 40.9% of those with no formal education to 80.8% for those studying at university or who already have a university degree (83.3% of women
Versus 78.2% of men).
Some 78% of the smartphones were found to support Khmer script; these numbers represent an increase of 23% over the 2014 level and 87% compared to 2013. For non-smartphones, the percentage was 56.3%; an increase of 18% since 2014 and of 83% since 2013.
Manufacturers of Phones that Support Khmer
Nokia phones account for 45% of all phones in Cambodia. The only three other significant brands are Samsung (21.5%), Apple (9.8%) and Metfone (5.6%).
Nokia models account for 36.8% of all phones that support Khmer. The brand is followed by Samsung (23.4%), Apple (13.5%) and Metfone
(8.1%). The remaining 18% was distributed among a large number of manufacturers.
Among Nokia phones, just a handful of models offer most of the support for Khmer script. The Nokia 105 model accounted for 20.9% of them, followed by Nokia 107 (11.9%), Nokia 101
(10.8%) and Nokia 108 (8.3%). The X series totaled 5%. They were trailed by the Nokia 220 at 3.9%. The Asha series was the only other of any significance, accounting for 3%.
Of the 89.5% of Apple smartphones that supported Khmer, the iPhone 5 accounted for 31% of them, iPhone 4 for 19.3%, iPhone 6 for 15.7%, iPhone 5S
For 14.2% and iPhone 6 plus for 9.1%.
Some 77.4% of Nokia smartphones supported Khmer, almost half of them being versions of the Asha mobile phone (48.9%). The Lumia series accounted for 31.9% and other series for 19.1%.
For Samsung, upwards of seven out of 10 smartphones supported Khmer (74.6%). Galaxy Note accounted for 25.2%, followed by Galaxy Note 2
(11.3%), Galaxy S2 (9.5%), Galaxy Grand (5.5%), Galaxy Grand2 (3.7%), Galaxy S3 (3.7%), Galaxy S4 (2.8%) and other Galaxy series (30.4%).
The Beliefs of Respondents—and the Truth after Observation
For each of the phones they used, respondents were asked if the mobile phone(s) supported Khmer text (Unicode). Following their response, the interviewer sent an SMS in Khmer to each of the respondent’s phones, then checked to see if the message was correctly displayed in the respondent’s phone(s).
As a result of these questions it was found that 51.8% of users thought that their main mobile phone supported Khmer; 27.1% thought it did not, and 14.1% admitted not knowing.
Observation of phones (after sending an SMS in Khmer) showed that the user’s perception was not always correct.
The discrepancies between the perception of the users and the actual ability of the phones to display Khmer went in both directions: some users thought their phone could support Khmer when the phone could not, while others thought that theirs did not when they were in fact able to display Khmer. In particular:
- 4.8% (down 54.6% from 2014 and 70.6% from 2013) of those who thought their main mobile phone could receive Khmer Unicode messages were wrong: Their phones could not receive such messages.
- 19.9% (down 4.7% from 2014 and up 37.2% from 2013) of those who thought their mobile phone did not support Khmer were wrong: Their phones did show a capability to support it. The phones of 55.7% of those who did not know whether their main phone supported Khmer actually supported it.
Of those whose main mobile phone supported Khmer, 78.6% knew it for sure (this level of awareness was up by 13.1% from 2014 and by 35.6% from 2013); 9.1% thought it did not, and 12.3% didn’t know. Looked at by location, the proportion of participants who knew their phone supported Khmer was 80.4% in urban areas and 77.2% in rural areas. In 2014, the levels were similar in both categories (69%) but in 2013 it was stronger in urban areas (61% vs 54.8% rural); there is no longer a significant gap between the levels of awareness in urban and rural areas.
In gender terms, men were aware that their main phone supported Khmer slightly more often than women (82.1% versus 75.6%). This represents even growth for men and women from 2014 (13%) and a 37.8% increase for men and a 33.1% increase for women from 2013.
Among smartphone users, there was a large difference in awareness levels depending on the brand. Nokia smartphone users showed the lowest awareness;
Only 75% were aware that their phones were able to support Khmer (a 30.2% increase from 2013). For Samsung smartphones the number rose to 90.4% (10.6% increase from 2013) and for Apple it climbed to 92.1% (5.4% increase from 2013). From 2013 to 2014 all these percentages were very similar; all the growth has been from 2014 to 2015.
Ability to Write in Khmer Script Using Phones
In this section the term user refers to mobile phone owners between the ages of 15 and 65 who have at least one phone that can send and receive SMS in Khmer.
Some 37.9% of these users claimed to know how to use the keypad of a dumb mobile phone to type Khmer script (a 7% increase from 2014 and 20% from 2013). 48.3% declared that they knew how to use a smartphone keyboard (a 35% increase from 2014 and a 66.7% increase from 2013). Some 28.9% reported knowing how to type on both kinds of keyboards (35.7% increase from 2014 and 64.3% from 2013).
Of the users who had at least one smartphone that could operate in Khmer, 74.5% said they knew how to type in Khmer Unicode (10% increase from 2014 and 34% from 2013). Among this group, those who had finished high school stood out, as 89.7% of them knew how to type in Khmer. If only those who had finished school and lived in urban areas are considered, the percentage rises to 92.4%.
Writing in Khmer Script
As reported above, 78.6% of those with phones that support Khmer knew that their phones had such capability.
Looking at the problem from the opposite angle, we see that 20.9% of those who had phones supporting Khmer did not know this, and 33.7% said they had never used their phones to write in Khmer Unicode. Only 45.4% had written in Khmer at some point or another.
Some 30.4% of users—equivalent to 27.3% of the whole population—claimed to have written in Khmer script on their phones at some point, a 49% increase from 2014 and a 156% increase from 2013. Men write in Khmer script on their phones slightly more often than women (35.6% for men versus 23.5%). In terms of gender, there was a moderate difference in the pace of growth in writing in Khmer in comparison to 2014 levels: 54.8% growth for men versus 45% growth for women. Compared to 2013, these numbers were 135% for female writers and 175% for male writers.
Some 21.9% of users—equivalent to 19.7% of the whole population—claimed to write in Khmer script in their phones daily or weekly. Looking into the age groups among which typing in Khmer script is more frequent (daily or weekly), it was found that 31.7% of those
Under 25 used it daily or weekly (versus 24.8% in 2014 [27.8% growth in the last year] and 4.8% in 2013 [560% growth over two years]). For those aged between 25 and 35 it was 24.3% (17.4% In 2014 [39.5% growth in one year] and 2.7% in 2013 [800% growth over two years]). For those between 35 and 45 the percentage of users was 13.6%.
(10.2% in 2014 [33.7% growth in one year] and only 0.5% in 2013 [2,627% growth over two years]).
Writing in Khmer Using Latin Script
Some 28.8% of the mobile phone users claimed to have written in Khmer using Latin characters at some point (25.9% of the total population). This represents 5% growth from 2014 and a 6.6% decrease from 2013.
Some 14.2% of users— equivalent to 12.3% of the whole population—claimed to write in Khmer rendered
in Latin script on their phones daily or weekly. Looking at the age groups in which typing Khmer in Latin characters is more frequent, it was found that 28% of those under 25 did so daily or weekly (29.4% in 2014 and 25.6% in 2013).
For those between 25 and 35, the percentage was 12.9% (12% in 2014 and
4.6% in 2013), and for those 35 to 45 it grew to 4.26% (1.8% in 2014 and 0.9% in 2013). Only the increase for the 35-45 age group was significant (up by 137% from 2014 and by 374% from 2013).
33.3% of the users—equivalent to 29.9% of the whole population—claimed to have read Khmer script on their own phones at some point (61.7% increase from 2014 and 171% increase from 2013). Men read Khmer on their phones slightly more often than women (37.7% for men versus 26.7%). The levels at which women and men read Khmer on their phones
showed very similar growth from 2014 (65.3% growth for men versus 61% growth for women); looking at the two-year cumulative growth since 2013, the increase in women readers (164%) is bigger than the increase for men (144%).
Some 20.9% of users—equivalent to 18.8% of the whole population—claimed to read Khmer script on their phones daily or weekly. Looking into the age groups among which reading Khmer script is more frequent (daily or weekly), it was found that 27.9% of those under 25 read daily or weekly (versus 23.3% in 2014 [19.7% growth in the past year] and 6.4% in 2013 [336% two-year growth]).
For those aged between 25 and 35 it was 24.6% (21% in 2014 [17% growth in one year] and 2.9% in 2013 [748% growth over two years]). For those aged between 35 and 45 the percentage was 14.2% (10.1% in 2014 [40.6% growth in one year] and only 0.7% in 2013 [1,928% growth over two years]).
Reasons Given for Not Typing in Khmer Script
The main reasons offered by respondents for never writing in Khmer script, (even if their phones supported Khmer and they knew how to type Khmer Unicode) were, in order of importance:
- They were not able to read and write Khmer (illiteracy) (20.1%).
- Writing in Khmer script was difficult and time-consuming (18.3%).
- None of their relatives or friends used Khmer on their phones (15.4%).
- They were busy with their work (12.1%).
The three most important reasons given in 2014 for not writing in Khmer became the second-, third- and fourth-most important reasons this year. The least important last year (illiteracy) became the most important this year.
It was also found that respondents preferred calling to typing a message in Khmer. This is consistent with the fact that in
Cambodia, in many cases it is cheaper to call than to send an SMS.
The factors cited by respondents as being most likely to encourage them to write in Khmer were:
- Having their friends and relatives do so (33%)
- Receiving training in typing in Khmer (29.7%)
- Simpler input methods that would allow them to type in Khmer more quickly (11.8%)
- Having Khmer characters on their mobile phone’s keypad (11.6%)
Factors 1 and 2 have swapped positions since last year. The third and fourth factors are the same as in the 2014 study.
Some 32.5% of Cambodians claimed to use the Internet or to have used it at one time (44.6% urban versus 27.37% rural).
Use of Internet on Phones
Many more men than women claimed to use or to have used the Internet (42.9%/22.2%). Use of the Internet was also found to decrease dramatically with age, from 51.6% of those aged between 15 and 25 to 10% of those aged between 40 and 65.
- For entertainment purposes (music, movies, etc.) (27%)
- To get news about Cambodia (14.8%)
- To access information on various topics (health, agriculture, etc.) (10.9%)
28.6% of Cambodians claimed to access the Internet using their own mobile phone
% increase from 2014 and 59% increase from 2013). This percentage was as high as 39.2% for urban users and as low as 24.1% for rural users. The percentage of men who said they used or had used the Internet on their own phones was higher than for women (37.3%/20%). Accessing the Internet via one’s own mobile phone was also found to decrease sharply by age group, from 45% of those aged between 15 and 25 to 8.6% of those aged 40 to 65.
In contrast, accessing the Internet from one’s own mobile phone was found to dramatically increase with education level, from 4.7% of those with no formal schooling to 71.3% of those who were studying at or who had completed university.
- 39.7% of those who access the Internet via their smartphone claim to read Khmer on their mobile phone daily or weekly.
- 43.8% of those who access the Internet from their smartphone claim to write in Khmer script on their phones daily or weekly.
Use of Facebook on Phones
Some 34.4% of Cambodians say they use or have used Facebook (48.2% increase from 2014 and 91% increase from
2013). The percentage was 49.2% for urban residents and 28% for rural residents. Men claimed to use Facebook more than women (43.5% versus 25.2%).
Some 31.8% of Cambodians stated that they have their own Facebook account (a 66.5% increase since
2014). Men made this claim more often than women (40.7% versus 22.9%). 46.1% of urban residents said they have at least one account, versus 25.7% for rural residents.
The higher number of self-declared Facebook users than Internet users presumably reflects the fact that some respondents use phones belonging to friends or family members to access Facebook.
Of these Facebook account holders, 96.9% said they access Facebook from their mobile phone (80.5% said they access it solely from their mobile phone). Only 3.1% accessed the site solely from a computer.
For Facebook account holders, some 95.8% of men used it on their phones, versus 98.7% of women. Among men, 67.5% used Facebook solely on their phones, versus 90% for women (72.5% urban versus 82.9% rural).
Some 92.5% of Facebook users had one account, 6.5% had two, and 1% had more than two accounts. The average number of accounts per person was 1.09 (same for urban and rural). The average was 1.07 for men and 1.1 for women.
Asked why they initially joined Facebook, the following factors were cited (in descending order of importance):
- To stay in touch with friends (39.2%)
- To obtain information about events in Cambodia (28.9%)
- To obtain information on a variety of topics (12.6%)
- For entertainment purposes and to play games (7.8%)
They were then asked to state the reasons that Facebook was valuable to them. In descending order of importance, it was found that mobile phone users access Facebook to:
- Obtain information about events in Cambodia (31.3%)
- Stay in touch with friends (29.5%)
- Obtain information on a variety of topics (15.1%)
- Stay in touch with family (10.1%)
Asked what activities they engaged in most often when using Facebook, in descending order of frequency, they said:
- Look at pictures (23.7%)
- Like or share posts (17.1%)
- Chat via Facebook message or Facebook messenger (13.9%)
- Read short articles (13.5%)
Facebook users who had their own account were asked how much they would believe information in Facebook and other social media. It was found that:
Some 28.3% of Cambodians said they use Facebook on their own phones (up from 14% in 2014 and from 11% in 2013). Some 29.6% of respondents claimed to use Facebook and also had a mobile phone that supported Khmer, but only 25.2% used Facebook on their Khmer-enabled phones. Members of this 25.2% group were divided in four categories: those who claimed to write on Facebook in both Khmer and Latin characters (50%); those who wrote only in Khmer characters (28%); those who wrote only in Latin characters (7.3%); and those who never wrote in Khmer (14.6%).
Additionally, looking at the data from a different perspective, it was found that:
70.6% of smartphones are used for accessing Facebook.
86.2% of Facebook users who access it via their smartphones actually have phones that support Khmer, but only 38.8% of them claim to read Khmer on their phones daily or weekly, and only 44.1% claim to write in Khmer script on their phones daily or weekly.
97.3% of users of Khmer-enabled smartphones access Facebook via their phones.
Sources of News
The study found that for respondents, the most important source of news about Cambodia was TV (31.8%), followed by Facebook/Internet (24.9%). Radio was the third-most important source (20.5%) followed by word of mouth (17.8%). In 2013, TV and radio were the most important sources of news, with very similar percentages (38.9% for TV and 38.8% for radio). The third-most important source was Facebook/Internet, at 15.2%.
Use of Applications in Phones
The study found that the activity for which respondents used their phones most frequently was playing games (14.5%), followed by listening to music (13.4%), taking pictures (11.3%) and listening to the radio (11.2%).
Asked to name the three applications they most wanted on their next phone, respondents cited a large number of apps, but Facebook claimed the most interest (19.5%); it was followed by accessing the Internet in general (11.8%); and a camera (11.1%).