HA NOI — The recent plan by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to allow mobile subscribers to change network providers without swapping numbers has received mixed reactions.
While leading operators such as Viettel, Vinaphone and MobiFone, which account for 90 per cent of the market, are concerned about the investments they would have to make, smaller operators think it could be a chance for them to make a breakthrough.
Viettel Mobile General Director Hoang Son said the policy would require his company to make a sizeable investment in network and customer services in order to meet the more strict demand of subscribers.
"We could not now calculate how much we would have to invest, but we can confirm the policy will make a huge impact on big operators," he said.
Son suggested the MIC draw experience from other countries that have applied the same policy in a bid to build the most appropriate one for Viet Nam.
Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy general director of Viettel Group, said when implementing the policy, operators should not focus on revenues from each subscriber, but on the total number of subscribers they have.
"If the policy is applied prematurely, operators would only invest in short-term schemes to prevent subscribers from changing to other networks," he added.
Meanwhile, a representative from Vinaphone said that apart from the considerable investment needed to accommodate the policy, the ongoing economic downturn would be an obstacle for them when the policy is applied in 2014.
"On the other hand, competition in the mobile market would be more severe if users have more choice," he added.
However, smaller operators seem to be happy about the policy.
In an earlier interview with the media last month, Vietnamobile CEO Elizabete Fong said she welcomed the long awaited policy.
She explained the policy would help new operators such as Vietnamobile have more opportunities in an already crowded market.
Mobile users would benefit from the policy as they could change networks without changing numbers, Fong added.
The new policy would give subscribers more choice to select their network providers while creating fairer competition environment between telecommunication companies, it said, according to the MIC.
In addition, telecom authorities would be able to measure the development of the 120 million subscription mobile market, especially in terms of e-commerce.
If applied, all mobile phone numbers wll be centrally managed by the MIC telecommunication department instead of partially by each network provider.
First aplied in Britain in 1999, as many as 70 countries worldwide now utilise the policy including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Finland, Peru and Malaysia.
The ministry will collect opinions and contributions to build the complete policy, which it expects to roll out in 2014.
The development of new mobile subscriptions in Viet Nam skyrocketed in recent years with 19 million in 2006, 25 million in 2007, 74 million in 2008, 98 million in 2009 and 120 million in 2012. — VNS