3G price hike tops list of 10 biggest ICT events in 2013

January 03, 2014 | 15:28
(0) user say
The 3G data plan price increase of Vietnam’s three largest mobile network operators in mid-October, which subscribers criticize as being unjustified, tops the list of the ten biggest ICT (information and communications technology) events of the country in 2013.

The event received the most votes from the Club of ICT Journalists, who sought to select events that had a large impact not only on the tech industry but on the community and society as well.

Below is a brief look of the biggest ICT events of 2013.

1. Subscribers blast “3G price hike”

On October 16, VinaPhone, MobiFone, and Viettel simultaneously increased the price of their 3G data plans by an average amount of 20 percent.

The network operators said they had been offering their services at below cost prices, so hiking prices was necessary. Higher prices would help the operators cut losses, while enabling them to expanding the 3G coverage network and ensure service quality, they said.

However, many subscribers have criticized the increases as the prices of some data plans have increased as much as 200 percent, while quality remains unsatisfactory. Some users even boycotted the 3G services by canceling their data plans.

The Vietnam Competition Authority has probed the case but concluded earlier this week that there is nothing abnormal about the price increases.

2. Free-texting apps boom

Smartphone and tablet apps that allow users to make phone calls and text for free boomed in 2013, attracting dozens of millions of new Vietnamese users.

Viber, an app made in Israel, is leading the market with 8 million users, followed by Vietnamese rival Zalo with 7 million users.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese mobile operators complain that their revenues lost trillions of dong due to the freebie apps as subscribers are neglecting the traditional phone call and SMS and using the apps instead.

3. Internet-managing decree causes stir

The 72/2013/ND-CP decree, which was signed by the Prime Minister on July 15 and took effect on September 1, is intended to create a transparent framework for Internet development in Vietnam.

But the new rule has caused a widespread misunderstanding among locals, who believe they will only be able to talk about themselves on their Facebook or blog, rather than sharing interesting news with their online friends.

The regulatory agencies, however, asserted that there are no clauses in the decree that ban social network users from searching for and sharing news and information.

4. Hackers threaten newswires with DDoS attacks

The fourth largest ICT event of the year was the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks hackers repeatedly targeted at many local news websites, including Tuoi Tre, in July.

DDoS is a malicious attempt to make a server or a network resource unavailable to users, usually by temporarily interrupting or suspending the services of a host connected to the Internet.

The remaining events in the list are:

5. Viettel, FPT, and VNPT jumped to the cable TV industry

6. Samsung and Nokia boosted investment in Vietnam

7. Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite, VNRED Sat-1, was launched on May 7

8. VNPT general manager was unexpectedly transferred

9. Internet service providers and internet content providers, including CMC, FPT, Viettel, and VDC, engaged in conflicts of interest

10. The government approved the digitalizing television project.


What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional