May, 26 2012 08:25:25

Mobile number portability eyed


Customers buy telecommunications services at a branch of Viettel Corp. A proposal to introduce mobile number portability is to be implemented in 2014. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI — The Telecommunication Department has called on the Ministry of Information and Communications to implement the proposed scheme on mobile number portability starting from 2014.

The scheme aims to give subscribers more choices to select their network providers and create a fair competition climate between telecoms companies, thus requiring them to raise their service and customer care quality.

Mobile Number portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.

In addition, the new scheme will allow telecom authorities to measure the development of the mobile market, especially the development of e-commerce.

Deputy Minister of Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) Le Nam Thang said in a meeting with the Telecommunication Department that the country now had enough factors to apply the scheme on number portability with more than 1.5 subscriber per capita and six mobile providers and low calling charges.

If applied, all mobile phone numbers will be centrally managed by MIC's telecommunication department instead of partially managed by each network provider. As many as 70 countries worldwide apply the same scheme with a central numbers management method.

However, Thang said with this service, consumers would have more opportunities to better use telecoms services, but that the time to conduct the scheme was too soon. Therefore, the ministry would collect opinions and contributions to build the policy, expected to be applied in 2014.

Telecom insiders said that if the scheme was applied, small mobile network operators would enjoy benefit. To do this, small network operators like Vietnamobile, Beeline and S-fone have to offer their customers competitive calling charges to attract subscribers from big mobile networks such as Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone enjoying 90 per cent of local market share.

When asked about the scheme, Elizabeth Fong, CEO of Vietnamobile, told Viet Nam News that she was happy that the Ministry was looking at this scheme. She was personally involved when Macao introduced the same service. It had helped manage government resources in terms of numbers and given consumers a choice, she added.

Some said big mobile network operators did not really like applying this scheme because they might lose subscribers to big rivals, and not from small mobile network operators.

An official from MIC said that in some countries, when starting the scheme, a large number of subscribers from big mobile network operators changed networks to small mobile operators. After that, many subscribers decided to switch networks to big mobile network operators. He attributed this to better quality and customer service provided by the big operators. — VNS

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