Landline subscriptions plummet as cell phones take over

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Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, the leader in landline telephony, has seen sales dip due to the increasing preference for cell phones, news website VnExpress reported Monday.

It quoted Vu Tien Duong, deputy sales chief at VNPT, as saying that from 13 million subscribers at one time the number has plunged now to around five million.

In recent years the speedy development of mobile phones caused an annual decrease of 25 percent in VNPT's landline subscriptions, he said.

"We cannot predict at what speed it will continue reducing."

Average payment by subscribers, which includes a fixed monthly charge of VND20,000, has also shrunk from some VND40,000 a month last year to VND33,000, he said.

VNPT could have lost nearly VND1 trillion (US$47.7 million) per year by charging VND400 a minute for domestic calls while it costs the company VND650, he said.

The fall in demand is not happening just in cities but even in remote and rrual areas .

It is very likely that VNPT would stop providing landline services in rural areas, he said. A small number of subscribers in an area would not even cover its infrastructure expenditure, he explained.

As of December there were 148.5 million telephone subscribers in the country, 93.3 percent of whom used cell phones.

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