HCM CITY — The number of 3G subscribers in Viet Nam has shot up thanks to cheaper mobile internet services and smartphones and the rising popularity of tablets.
Figures from the Telecommunications Department show that between October 2009, when 3G services were introduced, and July last year only 8 million signed up for them. But between then and last April a further 4.8 million came on board.
The lower tariffs and major promotion campaigns are thought to be the most important reasons for this.
A recent survey by Nielsen and Qualcomm found that 52 per cent of people in Ha Noi, HCM City, and Da Nang use 3G services through USBs and 48 per cent through mobile phones.
At the end of last year Viettel introduced the unlimited MiMax package for just VND40,000 per month, forcing rivals MobiFone and VinaPhone to match the offer.
In April Viettel offered students the package at VND20,000 per month.
On some other packages, it cut tariffs by 50 per cent, bringing them down to 50 per cent of 2G tariffs. Subsequently, the number of subscribers soared by 17 – 66 per cent.
"One reason that 3G cannot explode in Viet Nam is because customers believe it is very expensive," Tin Tuc (News) newspaper quoted Hoang Son, director of Viettel Telecom, as saying.
"However, 3G prices are now lower than that of 2G."
According to the Electronic Trade and Information Technologies Department, by 2015 20 per cent of the population will be using 3G, up from the current 15 per cent.
"3G subscriptions will increase rapidly thanks to promotions by network providers and cheaper smart phones, which are now sold from US$80," Dinh Anh Huan, marketing director of mobile-phone retailer The Gioi Di Dong, said.
The increasing popularity of tablets is another factor.
In 2011 the Viet Nam tablet market grew by 44 per cent, and this year the figure would be 51 per cent, a survey by the International Data Company found. — VNS