As Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is coming to town, more than 120 million mobile users will be able to experience the new generation of telecommunication services. However, approximately 95 per cent will not be able to switch operators and retain their numbers just yet.
|95 per cent of subscribers will have to wait until early 2019 to use MNP services |
According to the Authority of Telecommunications, launching the MNP for more than 120 million mobile subscribers at the same time would be difficult, therefore, the process needs to be done step-by-step to limit negative impacts.
As a result, three giant mobile suppliers – Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone – have decided to initially apply the service to postpaid subscribers, who account for 5 per cent of total mobile users. The purpose of this is for the carriers to examine inadequacies and work towards comprehensive solutions before wider implementation.
Instead of delaying the service by three months as previously proposed, from January 1, 2019, prepaid mobile subscribers will be allowed to access the MNP service, switching operators (Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, and Vietnamobile) and keeping their numbers. Small-scale Gtel reported that it is not going to carry out MNP.
“Customers can switch to the carriers of their choice, as long as their mobile bills are fully paid,” said Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Hong Hai, adding that MNP will benefit not only mobile subscribers but also the telecom sector and telecom enterprises, and make administration easier.
Subscribers can visit one of the branches of the operator of their choice to make the switch. The transfer process takes two or three days, however, and service will be unavailable during the shift for a maximum of one hour.
Each switch will be carried out with the recommended service charge of VND60,000 ($2.6), instead of VND120,000 ($5.2) as previously planned. Viettel and Mobifone have confirmed the fee of VND60,000, while Vinaphone is still mulling the decision. Vinaphone said it will announce the service, Vinaphone also announced the charge of VND60,000 on November 15. Subscribers will not be charged any extra fees.
After each switch, customers are required to stay with the current supplier for at least 90 days until they can switch again.
During the first days of implementing the MNP, the telecom market will witness great fluctuations, and stability is expected to return gradually.
According to deputy general director of Vinaphone Nguyen Truong Giang, MNP will doubtlessly affect mobile operators. About 2-5 per cent of global subscribers use MNP, but demand for the service in Vietnam has yet to be ascertained.
Representatives from telecom companies share the opinion that the main purpose of MNP is not to attract more subscribers but to enhance carriers’ competitiveness by improving service quality, infrastructure, as well as customer care to better satisfy and retain subscribers.