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Domestic mobile giants cleared of tariff-fixing

Update: January, 02/2014 - 09:31
A customer shops for a phone at a MobiFone store. MobiFone, together with Viettel and VinaPhone, were found not to have violated regulations after increasing 3G fees. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
HA NOI  (VNS) — Three mobile service providers, Viettel, MobiFone, and VinaPhone, have been cleared of suspicions that they violated regulations on tariff increases with their 3G fee hike.

The Competition Administration Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported this conclusion following an investigation of the 3G fee hike by the three mobile service providers on October 16.

According to the department, the 3G fee hike was implemented because the number of subscribers and the demand for bandwidth capacity had increased beyond their existing service capacity.

The department noted that under Article 27 of Decree No.116/2005/ND-CP of September 15, 2005, detailing the implementation of various articles of the Competition Law, it did not find any imposition of irrational purchase prices or sale prices of products or services or the fixing of minimum re-sale prices, causing damage to customers.

The department reported that its conclusions were based on checking three factors: the level of the 3G fee increase, any irregular volatility in the increase in production costs for 3G services, and any increase in the subscriber base or bandwidth capacity needs.

In checking the level of the 3G fee hike, it found that the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) reported the total adjustment of the recent 3G fee hike rose by about 20 per cent, exceeding 5 per cent and thus falling under the stipulations of Clause 2 of Decree No.116/2005/ND-CP, where the average retail price in the same market must have risen by more than 5 per cent within the last 60 consecutive days, or longer.

In checking for irregular volatility in the increase in production costs for 3G data services, the MIC confirmed that the production costs of the three providers was lower than the actual production costs of 2012, and there was no irregular volatility in the production costs of 3G data services.

Lastly, according to the report conducted by the MIC, by September 2013, the number of 3G subscribers had rapidly grew to 18.9 million, and bandwidth capacity had also increased beyond their existing capacity. — VNS

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