HA NOI — The Ministry of Information and Communications admits that it has failed to successfully regulate prepaid mobile phone services.
In an online dialogue with citizens on Sunday, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang said many challenges remained in enforcing existing regulations on this market.
A regulation which took effect last year, requiring prepaid subsribers to declare their personal information or face suspension of service, remained unenforced, Thang said.
Nearly 90 per cent of subscribers who had complied were found to have provided false information, he added.
Trinh Ngoc Hieu from HCM City said that he had continued to use his prepaid mobile phones without registering, suggesting that neither agencies nor business were enforcing the rule.
The ministry decree to tighten control over prepaid mobile services has provided for fines of up to VND20 million (US$1,060) for violators.
But, Thang stressed, the problem was not the level of punishment but how to raise the awareness of users that registration was designed to protect them from having their mobile numbers abused or even taken by others.
Thang also said during the online dialogue that mobile phone service providers and their agents were responsible for controlling spam massages and the widespread issuance of new SIM cards with bonus use time – a waste of phone numbers and digital resources that constituted a form of illegal promotion.
Many were buying new SIM cards to take advantage of attractive promotions, only to stop using the SIM cards once the promotional amounts were used up, Thang said.
Authorised agencies were doing little to punish violators, he added.
In order to more effectively manage these promotions, the ministry has drafted a decree which would limit service providers to offering promotions for no more than 90 days per year, with no single promotion to last longer than 45 days.
Under the new degree, which would take effect on July 1, they would also not be permitted to offer freebies worth over 50 per cent of the value of the prepaid card.
According to the ministry, prepaid mobile subscribers account for 90 per cent of the total of 90 million mobile subscriptions nationwide. — VNS