Dialing the right number

December 07, 2010 | 16:24
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Local operators are pushing for a mobile number portability policy.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is drafting mobile number portability (MNP) guidelines which could be released next year.

Mobile number portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another. The model is applied once a market reaches saturation point to create quality competition between operators.

"MNP will be definitely deployed sooner or later in Vietnam to promote fair competition amongst local mobile operators," said a MIC official.

The market is expected to be saturated shortly status in the coming years once local operators did not generate or introduce any market-driver applications for better serving customers by segments.

Vietnamobile Communications Centre said the MIC should provide guidelines for the Telecom Law to create more open environment for new operators.

“The draft should mention MNP with a specific timeline to introduce this decree to guide the implementation of the Telecom Law,” said a Vietnamobile representative.

Meanwhile, the country’s leading mobile operator Viettel is still reluctant to apply the MNP policy.

“We have just poured a lot of money into 3G infrastructure and the market segment has not yet matured to apply the MNP policy as it would not benefit for such operators like us,” said Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy general director of Viettel Group.

Leading players Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone control 97 per cent of the market and have slashed new mobile user targets for this year. Viettel Telecom wants to lure around seven million new mobile subscribers this year, equal to nearly half of new mobile subscribers signed last year. Viettel operator reportedly served 40 million active mobile subscribers this year including one million 3G mobile users.

Hung added there was still room for operators to compete through generating mobile handsets or digital content. Vietnam had around 60 million active mobile subscribers this year, with only 5 per cent of 3G mobile subscribers.

"Once MNP is applied, fighting among operators will be severe," said Hung.

By Hai Van


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