HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has asked telecoms companies to co-operate with businesses providing over-the-top (OTT) services to allow free phone calls and messages for users.
The request was enshrined in Instruction No75 on telecoms issued on October 30 and signed by Minister Nguyen Bac Son.
Telecom companies are required to submit their internet fees for mobile phones and OTT services for approval with the Department of Telecommunications.
The ministry also asked the department to investigate new services and technology developments, to provide recommendations that reduce the negative impact on businesses.
The instruction was released amid a rapid rise in the number of Vietnamese users subscribing to OTT services, including the US's Viber and Viet Nam's Zalo. The surge is said to be the main cause of recent losses reported by telecom giants MobiFone, Viettel and VinaPhone.
Although leaders of the telecom companies said their latest 3G fee increase did not apply to OTT services, users believed they were related.
Speaking with online newspaper Vietnamplus on Monday, Deputy Minister Le Nam Thang said that when 3G networks were introduced in Viet Nam, suitable quality standards had not been determined for the country.
He also said that Viet Nam could not use foreign standards due to differences in network scale and technology.
Agencies under MIC were compliant with the quality standards for 3G and the ministry was reviewing them prior to public release, he said.
"Whether 3G fees are adjusted or not, the service quality must be ensured," Thang said.
Pham Hong Hai, head of the Department of Telecommunications, said the increase had a legitimate legal basis and did not violate pricing regulations or threaten fair competition in the market.
Thang asked the department to cooperate with enterprises and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Viet Nam Competition Authority to finalise reports for submission to the government soon.
"We will try to complete them this week. Figures on the cost, regional prices, supply and demand and others will be publicised," he said. — VNS