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VietNamNews

Circular regulates OTT services

Update: November, 15/2014 - 09:54
OTT enterprises which charge fees must follow regulations on fee management and service quality that are applicable to traditional telecommunications services in Viet Nam. — File Photo
HA NOI  (VNS) — The Department of Telecommunications is collecting opinions on its new draft circular on the management, provision and use of Internet-based calls and texting services.

The Department is under the Ministry of Information and Communications. The process of collecting opinions will end on December 28.

According to the draft circular, foreign over-the-top (OTT) service providers are required to base at least one host server in Viet Nam and must have trade agreements with Vietnamese telecommunications companies licensed to provide Internet-based calls and texting messages.

OTT enterprises which charge fees must follow regulations on fee management and service quality that are applicable to traditional telecommunications services in Viet Nam.

Domestic enterprises are allowed to charge fees for OTT services only if they are licensed to provide Internet-based calls and messaging services. If domestic and international companies offer free services, they do not need licences to provide telecommunications services.

However, if their service attracts more than one million registered users, the companies must provide information such as the location of their headquarters, domain names and the address of the host server, as well as the number of calls and texts they handle, to the ministry before January 30 of each year.

The regulations will be applied on foreign OTT service providers in Viet Nam such as Viber, WhatsApp and Line. Viber makes users pay for making calls to mobile phones and fixed phones with its Viber Out service.

WhatsApp, which giant social network site Facebook purchased last February, offers free services in the first year and charges VND21,000 from the second year onwards.

Line of Japan offers free calls and messaging services and charges fees for value-added tax services such as selling of packages of stickers and themes.

There are an estimated 12 million Viber users, four million Line users and 10 million Zalo users in Viet Nam, which expects to have 30 million OTT app users by year-end.

On 4G deployment, the Ministry of Information and Technology (MIC) said the new technology would be made available in Viet Nam in 2015.

However, market demand and users' readiness will determine when 4G can be put into use. The MIC has advised mobile network operators to make hectic preparations for 4G.

According to Claudio Frascoli of Nokia Networks, one of the biggest Vietnamese network operators has seen a 100 per cent growth rate in data service. This is good news that reflects the high demand for data services among smartphone subscribers. — VNS

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