EVN Telecom, Viettel to merge
|Viettel staff members input data. Viettel will manage EVN Telecom from the beginning of next year. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tu
HA NOI — The Government has agreed the transfer of EVN Telecom to Viettel telecom group from the beginning of next year, the Ministry of Information and Communications confirmed
The ministry said the Government Office had asked Viettel and EVN Telecom to discuss transferring assets and debts from debt-ridden EVN Telecom, human resources, debt payment plans and use of EVN infrastructure.
Ha Noi Telecom Corp, which owns Vietnammobile, has again submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister to purchase 3G broadband and network infrastructure from the faltering EVN Telecom.
The proposal claims the merger would make Viettel, one of the largest mobile providers in the country, a monopoly if it bought EVN Telecom, a subsidiary of the Viet Nam Electricity Group.
If this was the case, the major network Viettel would hold more than half of the country’s total 3G frequency resources. Viettel currently accounts for nearly 37 per cent of the mobile market share in Viet Nam.
Ha Noi Telecom’s general director Trinh Minh Chau told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper that their business together with EVN Telecom won a bid for a 3G licence from the ministry two years ago, adding that they had invested considerable funds for developing infrastructure.
Chau said Ha Noi Telecom wanted to buy the 3G broadband of EVN Telecom and added that the merger with Viettel would create a monopoly breaching the country’s competition law.
Vu Dinh Anh, deputy head of the Ministry of Finance’s Price and Market Research Institute, said Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone had not formed a monopoly.
Anh said if a debt-ridden business facing bankruptcy merged with another holding 50-60 per cent of the market share, it would not violate the law.
He added that in addition to international practices, the merger among State-owned enterprises would be implemented under Viet Nam’s laws and regulations on the use of State capital in businesses.
The Ministry of Information and Communications had earlier stated it was time to merge cash-trapped EVN Telecom with another State-run telephone network operator.
EVN Telecom has reported significant losses and debts due to connection fees and frequency charges. — VNS